Trickster Tales


trickster, a mythic figure common among Native North Americans, South Americans, and Africans. Usually male but occasionally female or disguised in female form, he is notorious for exaggerated biological drives and well-endowed physique; partly divine, partly human, and partly animal, he is an often amoral and comic troublemaker. The Winnebago trickster Wakdjunkaga scattered all creation across the earth through his flatulence. Natives of the Pacific NW believe that the Raven, after miniaturizing himself and entering the daughter of a chief, was able to emerge disguised as an infant and steal the box in which the chief hid the sun, thus bringing light into the world. Peoples of the plateaus of the NW United States believe that good fishing is found near settlements that gained the favor of the coyote by allowing him to copulate with their women. Tales of tricksters are ironic arenas in which corporeality and transcendence, the individual and society, meaning and the absurd, are mediated and celebrated.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Trickster Tales: Selected full-text books and articles

Trickster in the Land of Dreams
Zeese Papanikolas.
University of Nebraska Press, 1995
The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology
Paul Radin.
Philosophical Library, 1956
Scheherazade's Sisters: Trickster Heroines and Their Stories in World Literature
Marilyn Jurich.
Greenwood Press, 1998
From Trickster to Badman: The Black Folk Hero in Slavery and Freedom
John W. Roberts.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1990
Folk Poetics: A Sociosemiotic Study of Yoruba Trickster Tales
Ropo Sekoni.
Greenwood Press, 1994
Before the Great Spirit: The Many Faces of Sioux Spirituality
Julian Rice.
University of New Mexico Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Three "Tricksters"
The Folktale
Stith Thompson.
Dryden Press, 1946
Librarian’s tip: Chap. III "The Trickster Cycle"
Our Living Traditions: An Introduction to American Folklore
Tristram Potter Coffin.
Basic Books, 1968
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 15 "Trickster, the Outrageous Hero"
Black Culture and Black Consciousness: Afro-American Folk Thought from Slavery to Freedom
Lawrence W. Levine.
Oxford University Press, 1978
Librarian’s tip: "The Fate of the Trickster" begins on p. 370
Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook
Vicki K. Janik; Emmanuel S. Nelson.
Greenwood Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: "Native American Coyote Trickster Tales and Cycles" begins on p. 155
Disorderly Discourse: Narrative, Conflict, & Inequality
Charles L. Briggs.
Oxford University Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: "The Trickster's Scattered Self" begins on p. 53
Child's Play: Myth, Mimesis and Make-Believe
L. R. Goldman.
Berg Publishers, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "The Trickster: A Melanesian Enantiomorph"
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