108 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of Folklore about their New Books
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New Books in Folklore Marshall Poe

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of Folklore about their New Books
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    Raj Balkaran, "The Stories Behind the Poses: The Indian Mythology That Inspired 50 Yoga Postures" (Leaping Hare, 2022)

    Raj Balkaran, "The Stories Behind the Poses: The Indian Mythology That Inspired 50 Yoga Postures" (Leaping Hare, 2022)

    Raj Balkaran's 200th podcast episode: Christa Kuberry interviews him on his beautifully written new book The Stories Behind the Poses: The Indian Mythology That Inspired 50 Yoga Postures (Leaping Hare, 2022), and highlighting their significance for practice. 
    Raj Balkaran is a scholar, online educator, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.
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    • 52 min
    Adrienne Mayor, "Flying Snakes and Griffin Claws: And Other Classical Myths, Historical Oddities, and Scientific Curiosities" (Princeton UP, 2022)

    Adrienne Mayor, "Flying Snakes and Griffin Claws: And Other Classical Myths, Historical Oddities, and Scientific Curiosities" (Princeton UP, 2022)

    Adrienne Mayor is renowned for exploring the borders of history, science, archaeology, anthropology, and popular knowledge to find historical realities and scientific insights--glimmering, long-buried nuggets of truth--embedded in myth, legends, and folklore. Combing through ancient texts and obscure sources, she has spent decades prospecting for intriguing wonders and marvels, historical mysteries, diverting anecdotes, and hidden gems from ancient, medieval, and modern times. Flying Snakes and Griffin Claws: And Other Classical Myths, Historical Oddities, and Scientific Curiosities (Princeton UP, 2022) is a treasury of fifty of her most amazing and amusing discoveries.
    The book explores such subjects as how mirages inspired legends of cities in the sky; the true identity of winged serpents in ancient Egypt; how ghost ships led to the discovery of the Gulf Stream; and the beauty secrets of ancient Amazons. Other pieces examine Arthur Conan Doyle's sea serpent and Geronimo's dragon; Flaubert's obsession with ancient Carthage; ancient tattooing practices; and the strange relationship between wine goblets and women's breasts since the times of Helen of Troy and Marie Antoinette. And there's much, much more.
    Showcasing Mayor's trademark passion not to demythologize myths, but to uncover the fascinating truths buried beneath them, Flying Snakes and Griffin Claws is a wonder cabinet of delightful curiosities.
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    • 34 min
    Juwen Zhang, "The Dragon Daughter and Other Lin Lan Fairy Tales" (Princeton UP, 2022)

    Juwen Zhang, "The Dragon Daughter and Other Lin Lan Fairy Tales" (Princeton UP, 2022)

    The Dragon Daughter and Other Lin Lan Fairy Tales (Princeton University Press, 2022) by Dr. Juwen Zhang brings together forty-two magical Chinese tales, most appearing for the first time in English. These stories have been carefully selected from more than a thousand originally published in the early twentieth century under the pseudonyms Lin Lan and Lady Lin Lan—previously unknown in the West, and now acclaimed as the Brothers Grimm of China.
    The birth of the tales began in 1924, when one author, Li Xiaofeng, published a set of literary stories under the Lin Lan pen name, an alias that would eventually be shared by an editorial team. Together, this group gathered fairy tales (tonghua) from rural regions across China. Combining traditional oral Chinese narratives with elements from the West, the selections in this collection represent different themes and genres—from folk legends to comic tales. Characters fall for fairies, experience predestined love, and have love/hate relationships with siblings. Garden snails and snakes transform into cooking girls, and dragon daughters construct houses. An introduction offers historical and social context for understanding the role that the Lin Lan stories played in modern China.
    This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.
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    • 1 hr 7 min
    79* Madeline Miller on Circe (GT, JP)

    79* Madeline Miller on Circe (GT, JP)

    In this rebroadcast, John and Brandeis neuroscientist Gina Turrigiano (an occasional host and perennial friend of Recall this Book) speak with Madeline Miller, author of the critically acclaimed bestseller Circe.
    Elizabeth Ferry is Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University. Email: ferry@brandeis.edu. John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Email: plotz@brandeis.edu.
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    • 47 min
    78 Fantasy Then, Now, and Forever with Anna Vaninskaya

    78 Fantasy Then, Now, and Forever with Anna Vaninskaya

    Elizabeth and John talk about fantasy's power of world-making with Edinburgh professor Anna Vaninskaya, author of William Morris and the Idea of Community: Romance, History and Propaganda, 1880-1914 ( 2010) and Fantasies of Time and Death: Dunsany, Eddison, Tolkien ( 2020). Anna uncovers the melancholy sense of displacement and loss running through Tolkien, and links his notion of "subcreation" to an often concealed theological vision. Not allegory but "application" is praised as a way of reading fantasy.
    John asks about hopeful visions of the radical politics of fantasy (Le Guin, but also Graeber and Wengrow's recent work); Elizabeth stresses that fantasy's appeal is at once childish and childlike. E. Nesbit surfaces, as she tends to in RtB conversations. The question of film TV and other visual modes comes up: is textual fantasy on the way out?
    Mentioned in the Episode:

    David Graeber and David Wengrow, The Dawn of Everything.


    In "From Elfland to Poughkeepsie" Ursula Le Guin perhaps surprisingly praises the otherworldly prose style of Anna's beloved E. R. Eddison, best known for The Worm Ouroboros (1922)

    J. R. R. Tolkien, "On Fairy Stories"

    E. Nesbit The Phoenix and the Carpet


    Lord Dunsany, King of Elfland's Daughter


    Ursula Le Guin The Books of Earthsea



    Recallable Books:

    Sylvia Townsend Warner, Kingdoms of Elfin (and read this lovely Ivan Kreilkamp article on her earlier strange great Lolly Willowes)

    Lloyd Alexander Chronicles of Prydain


    N. K. Jemisin, The Fifth Season



    Read transcript here
    Elizabeth Ferry is Professor of Anthropology at Brandeis University. Email: ferry@brandeis.edu. John Plotz is Barbara Mandel Professor of the Humanities at Brandeis University and co-founder of the Brandeis Educational Justice Initiative. Email: plotz@brandeis.edu.
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    • 47 min
    Liora Sarfati, "Contemporary Korean Shamanism: From Ritual to Digital" (Indiana UP, 2021)

    Liora Sarfati, "Contemporary Korean Shamanism: From Ritual to Digital" (Indiana UP, 2021)

    Once viewed as an embarrassing superstition, the theatrical religious performances of Korean shamans--who communicate with the dead, divine the future, and become possessed--are going mainstream. Attitudes toward Korean shamanism are changing as shamanic traditions appear in staged rituals, museums, films, and television programs, as well as on the internet. 
    In Contemporary Korean Shamanism: From Ritual to Digital (Indiana University Press, 2021), Liora Sarfati explores this vernacular religion and practice, which includes sensory rituals using laden altars, ecstatic dance, and animal sacrifice, within South Korea's hypertechnologized society, where over 200,000 shamans are listed in professional organizations. In doing so, Sarfati reveals how representations of shamanism in national, commercialized, and screen-mediated settings have transformed opinions of these religious practitioners and their rituals. Applying ethnography and folklore research, Contemporary Korean Shamanism maps this shift in perception about shamanism--from a sign of a backward, undeveloped Korea to a valuable, indigenous cultural asset.
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    • 1 hr 19 min

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