Literary Legacies, Folklore Foundations: Selfhood and Cultural Tradition in Nineteenth-And Twentieth-Century American Literature

By Preston, Cathy Lynn | Western Folklore, Summer 2004 | Go to article overview

Literary Legacies, Folklore Foundations: Selfhood and Cultural Tradition in Nineteenth-And Twentieth-Century American Literature


Preston, Cathy Lynn, Western Folklore


Literary Legacies, Folklore Foundations: Selfhood and Cultural Tradition in Nineteenth-and Twentieth-Century American Literature. By Karen E. Beardslee. (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2001. Pp. xxiv + 202, introduction, notes, bibliography, index. $27.00 cloth.)

For those of us who teach folklore and literature courses, Literary Legacies, Folklore Foundations come as a welcome addition to the field of folklore and literature studies. The impetus behind the book began with an experience that many of us have had-that of being handed, at the last minute, a course to teach that was designed by someone else. In Beardslee's case the course was focused on the theme of "the search for self," or as Beardslee notes, "the impossibility of such a thing" as articulated in early-contemporary American fiction, primarily that written by white males (for example, John Updike, Philip Roth, and Saul Bellow). I mention this anecdote because Beardslee's book takes up the theme of "the search for self but does so by recasting it in relation to nineteenthcentury and late twentieth-century, multicultural American literature, in which a sense of self is, as she argues, achievable "but only if the individual situates the search within his/her cultural community" (x). The relationship between the construction of individual identity and the articulation of cultural acceptance and community-based competence is thus central to Literary Legacies, Folklore Foundations.

The volume provides close readings of eight works of fiction. In each of four chapters a nineteenth- or early twentieth-century text is paired with a later twentieth-century text that inscribes a similar folk group in relation to ethnicity and gender, as well as a similar folk tradition. The first chapter's focus is on women's needlework traditions in Harriet Beecher Stowe's 1859 novel, The Minister's Wooing, and Whitney Otto's 1991 novel, How to Make an American Quilt. The second chapter takes up traditional African-American storytelling in Charles Chesnutt's 1899 The Conjure Woman and David Bradley's 1981 The Chaneysville Incident, while chapter three addresses Native American myth, legend and ritual in Zitkala-Sa's 1921 American Indian Stories and Leslie Marmon Silko's 1978 Ceremony. Finally, in chapter four, Maria Cristina Mena's "The Birth of the God of War" (Mena lived from 1893 to 1965, but her work was not anthologized until 1997) and Roberta Fernândez's 1990 Intaglio: a Novel in Six Stories inscribe a range of tradition-based figures and genres from Mena's female trickster figure and the function of storytelling through Fernândez's focus variously on scrapbook-making, dancing, storytelling, needlework, herb-lore, home altar construction, and card reading. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Literary Legacies, Folklore Foundations: Selfhood and Cultural Tradition in Nineteenth-And Twentieth-Century American Literature
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.