The Pow­er of a Tale: Sto­ries from the Israel Folk­lore Archives; edited by Haya Bar-Itzhak and Idit Pin­tel-Gins­berg

The Pow­er of a Tale: Sto­ries from the Israel Folk­lore Archives; edited by Haya Bar-Itzhak and Idit Pin­tel-Gins­berg

Raphael Patai Series in Jewish Folklore and Anthropology

In The Power of a Tale: Stories from the Israel Folktale Archives, editors Haya Bar-Itzhak and Idit Pintel-Ginsberg bring together a collection of fifty-three folktales in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Israel Folktale Archives (IFA) at the University of Haifa. Established by the folklorist Dov Noy in the 1950s, the IFA is the only archive of its kind in Israel and serves as a center for knowledge and information concerning the cultural heritage of the many ethnic communities in Israel.

For this jubilee volume, contributors each selected a story-the narrators of which vary in ethnic background, education level, gender, and length of time in Israel-from the more than 24,000 preserved in the archives and wrote an accompanying analytic essay. The folk narrative is anchored in tradition, but it is modified and renewed by each narrator as they tell it to assorted audiences and in different performance contexts. The stories they tell encompass a myriad of genres and themes, including mythical tales, demon legends, märchen of various sorts, and personal narratives. Contributors employ diverse approaches to analyze and interpret the stories, such as the classic comparative approach, which looks at tale types, oikotypes, and motifs; formalism, which considers narrative roles and narrative functions; structuralism, which aims to uncover a story’s deep structure and its binary oppositions; and more.

Translated for the first time into English, the stories and accompanying essays are evidence of the lively research being conducted today on folk literature. Scholars and students interested in Jewish folklore and literature will appreciate this diverse collection as well as readers interested in Jewish and Israeli culture.

Year first published: 2019

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