Academic journal article Journal of American Folklore

Obituaries: Daniel R. Barnes (1940–2014)

Academic journal article Journal of American Folklore

Obituaries: Daniel R. Barnes (1940–2014)

Article excerpt

Dan Barnes was a brilliant scholar of American literature and folklore. He was a beloved professor in the Department of English at The Ohio State University for 28 years, from 1967 to 1995, when he was honored with the title Emeritus Professor. Students loved his quick wit and unending repertoire of jokes, which he used to grab their attention while also explaining complex literary theory. His range of knowledge was remarkable, both in his teaching and in his scholarship.

The titles of a few of his many published articles give some indication of how vast his expertise was: "An Early American Collection of Rogues' Cant," Journal of American Culture (1966); "Folktale Morphology and the Structure of Beowulf" Speculum (1970); "The Bosom Serpent: A Legend in American Literature and Culture," Journal of American Folklore (1972). This list covers both a variety of different topics, including British and American literature, folk speech, and legend, and multiple approaches, such as structuralism, contextualism, and genre studies. He was especially interested in legends and made several important contributions to studying that genre: "Some Functional Horror Stories on the Kansas University Campus," Southern Folklore Quarterly (1966); "Interpreting Urban Legends," ARV: Scandinavian Yearbook of Folklore (1985); and "The Contemporary Legend in Literature: Towards an Annotated Checklist," Contemporary Legend (1991). …

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