Here, grounded firmly in American history, is a skilled folklorist's survey of the entire field of America's folklore—from colonization to mass culture.
Tracing the forms and content of American folklore, Mr. Dorson reveals the richness, pathos, and humor of genuine folklore, which he distinguishes from the "fakelore" of popularizers and chauvinists. At the same time, however, he shows what the creation of spurious folklore (the Paul Bunyan legends, for instance) discloses about our national character. Based upon authentic field collections and research, the examples cited include folkways, jests, boasts, tall tales, ballads, folk and legendary heroes.
"His volume enlarges our understanding of the American past and present through an empirical survey of the extant folk traditions and it also provides us with the means for appreciating what is valuable in these folk traditions."—Virginia Quarterly Review