The Anguish of Snails: Native American Folklore in the West

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-06-01
  • Publisher: Utah State Univ Pr

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After a career working and living with American Indians and studying their traditions, Barre Toelken has written this sweeping study of Native American folklore in the West. Within a framework of performance theory, cultural worldview, and collaborative research, he examines Native American visual arts, dance, oral tradition (story and song), humor, and patterns of thinking and discovery to demonstrate what can be gleaned from Indian traditions by Natives and non-Natives alike. In the process he considers popular distortions of Indian beliefs, demystifies many traditions by showing how they can be comprehended within their cultural contexts, considers why some aspects of Native American life are not meant to be understood by or shared with outsiders, and emphasizes how much can be learned through sensitivity to and awareness of cultural values. Winner of the 2004 Chicago Folklore Prize,The Anguish of Snailsis an essential work for the collection of any serious reader in folklore or Native American studies.

Author Biography

Barre Toelken is the author or editor of numerous books and articles on folklore and related topics. He is the editor of the journal Western Folklore and professor of English at Utah State University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii
Dedication and Acknowledgments ix
She Comes Along Carrying Spears xi
Prologue: The Snail's Clues 1(8)
1. Cultural Patterns in Native American Folklore: An Introduction 9 (16)
2. Visual Patterns of Performance: Arts 25 (55)
3. Kinetic Patterns of Performance: Dance 80 (30)
4. Oral Patterns of Performance: Story and Song 110 (36)
5. Patterns and Themes in Native Humor 146 (19)
6. Cultural Patterns of Discovery 165(26)
Epilogue: "Gleaning" and the Active Audience 191 (7)
Index 198

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