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In 1970 Katharine Briggs published in four volumes the vast and authoritative Dictionary of British Folktales and Legends to wide acclaim. This sampler comprises the very best of those tales and legends. Gathered within, readers will find an extravagance of beautiful princesses and stout stable boys, sour-faced witches and kings with hearts of gold. Each tale is a masterpiece of storytelling, from the hilarious 'Three Sillies' to the delightfully macabre 'Sammle's Ghost'.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780415286022
ISBN-10: 0415286026
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 32mm)
Pages: 390
Imprint: Routledge
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Publish Date: 1-Aug-2002
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


UK Kirkus Review » In this sampler of folk-tales Katharine Briggs presents her reader with a selection of classics, favourites and little-known oddities from across the spectrum. The book is headed by an informative Introduction, which provides a brief overview of the collection and study of folklore, the classification of folk tales and the scholarly consensus (or lack of consensus) on the subject. The Introduction contains valuable information about the growth and transmission of traditional stories; with the footnotes that follow each tale, it gives a fascinating insight into their meaning and social context. The tales themselves are drawn from a larger wellspring - Briggs's own Dictionary of British Folk-Tales - and as such this is an attempt to represent a much wider canvas in an approachable volume, an aim the book achieves comfortably. It is split into 18 sections according to the grand scheme of folk-tale classification, and includes both well-known and obscure instances of each type. Familiar tales appear in their original forms - 'Rumpelstiltskin' as 'Tom Tit-Tot', for instance - and many of the stories are transcribed in the dialect of the area to which they belong, lending authenticity to Briggs's rebellion against 'the prettified, airy-fairy stories foisted upon children'. It will be enjoyed by anyone who likes fairy tales and is interested in their wider context, but is particularly aimed at students of linguistics, sociology and oral tradition. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - Katharine M. Briggs

Katharine Briggs (1898-1980). Eminent folklorist and former president of the Folklore Society.

Books By Author Katharine M. Briggs

British Folk Tales and Legends by Katharine M. Briggs

British Folk Tales and Legends

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The Fairies in Tradition and Literature

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