Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Explore Folklore

Author: Bob Trubshaw
ISBN: 1872883605

This book provides an introduction into folklore studies eventually focussing on developments in the last 30 years. The author has produced a great introduction to the study of folklore, providing definitions and great references so I could follow-up on those topics that are of interest.

One of the most helpful items was "Warhsaver's helpful distinction between three 'levels' of folklore" (Warshaver 1991), which separated out various activities, leading to a greater understanding of what is actually being studied (and what is not). The book does take a while to get to the sections on what most would consider "folk customs", but its worth reading all the chapters.

I enjoy reading Mr Trubshaw's books. Sure, I've seen criticisms about some of his theories, but for someone, like myself, who has come to folklore without any previous understanding, this book has been very enlightening and I consider it a worthwhile read for any newcomer to the field. The book focusses on the British traditions, with only light references to American studies in folklore and music.

Mr Trubshaw's enthusiasm shines through, and helps to involve the reader. He writes with a good sense of humour, too. What I most enjoy is his ability to incorporate modern life as examples, making the reader think about their own behaviour and that of their friends - something I had not previously considered as being a part of "living folklore".

I recommend this book to anyone wanting to get a start in British folklore and/or folkmusic studies. And, do check out the fabulous bibliography. Mr Trubshaw has a website where ideas in this book can be explored further. Its called "Foamy Custard".

Rating: 4.5/5.

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