Examines major forms of folklore (e.g., myths, legends, epics, beliefs, rituals, festivals) and the theoretical approaches used in their study. Analyzes how folklore shapes national, regional, and ethnic identities, as well as daily life; considers the function of folklore within the groups that perform and use it, employing materials drawn from a wide range of areas (e.g., South Slavic oral epics, American occupational lore, Northern European ballads, witchcraft in Africa and America, Cajun Mardi Gras). Note: Required of Concentrators and for the Secondary Field in Folklore and Mythology.
Considers the principal heroic monuments of northern Europe, including Beowulf, The Lay of Hildebrand, The Lay of the Nibelungs, The Saga of the Volsungs, and the Sigurd poetry of the Poetic edda, and their interpretations. In this course, we will examine a number of important literary and cultural questions in their specific medieval northern European contexts: What is epic poetry, and what features does epic poetry display across time and space in Germanic northern Europe?