“I can envision The Folkloresque functioning as a manifesto that enables folklorists to join conversations about contemporary culture that we should have been a part of right along. . . . At stake, perhaps, is nothing less than the revitalization and reintegration of an increasingly marginalized discipline.”
—Russell Frank, Pennsylvania State University
This volume introduces a new concept to explore the dynamic relationship between folklore and popular culture: the “folkloresque.” With “folkloresque,” Foster and Tolbert name the product created when popular culture appropriates or reinvents folkloric themes, characters, and images. Such manufactured tropes are traditionally considered outside the purview of academic folklore study, but the folkloresque offers a frame for understanding them that is grounded in the discourse and theory of the discipline.
Fantasy fiction, comic books, anime, video games, literature, professional storytelling and comedy, and even popular science writing all commonly incorporate elements from tradition or draw on basic folklore genres to inform their structure. Through three primary modes—integration, portrayal, and parody—the collection offers a set of heuristic tools for analysis of how folklore is increasingly used in these commercial and mass-market contexts.
The Folkloresque challenges disciplinary and genre boundaries; suggests productive new approaches for interpreting folklore, popular culture, literature, film, and contemporary media; and encourages a rethinking of traditional works and older interpretive paradigms.
Contributors: Trevor J. Blank, Chad Buterbaugh, Bill Ellis, Timothy H. Evans, Michael Dylan Foster, Carlea Holl-Jensen, Greg Kelley, Paul Manning, Daniel Peretti, Gregory Schrempp, Jeffrey A. Tolbert