Book Reviews The work is divided into two sections: the first is a series of forty-eight longer essays about the most widespread, well-known, or complex southern folk practices. The second section is a group of fifty-seven shorter essays about more specific aspects of those larger traditions, or about smaller or more localized traditions. The only criticism to be made of the volume has to do with this organizational scheme: while the two-tiered strategy works, it would be made more effective by cross-referencing related entries (the long essay on "Hunting Dogs" would do well to point the reader toward the short essay on "coon hounds," for example). Nevertheless, this is a tremendous reference work, and the index of authors reads like a who's who of the most influential folklorists working today. The entries' resistance to generalizations and nostalgia is not only realistic, but refreshing, given the widespread and erroneous laments about the "decline" of local culture. At every turn, Folklife reminds us that any region's "Culture" is better defined as a complex, overlapping set of "cultures," all of which are constantly evolving and emerging. At the same time, it includes discussions of regional folk traditions that are new even
West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Oct 20, 2010
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