South Asian Folklore

A Handbook

by Frank J. Korom


Gives students and general readers a thorough introduction to South Asian folklore and provides a wide range of legends, tales, myths, riddles, jokes, and other examples.

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Cover image for South Asian Folklore

April 2006


Pages 240
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Geography and World Cultures/Folklore
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    Hardcover: £47.00/56,00€/A$82.00

South Asia is a distant, exotic place to most American students. It is also a land of diverse and fascinating cultures, exemplified by the folklore of the region. This book gives students and general readers a thorough introduction to South Asian folklore. Included are chapters on different types of folklore, the place of folklore in popular culture, and the scholarly response to South Asian folklore. The volume also provides numerous legends, tales, myths, riddles, jokes, and other examples of folklore from South Asia. The book closes with a glossary and a bibliography of print and electronic resources.

To most American students, South Asia is a distant and exotic world. It is the birthplace of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, and the home of hundreds of languages. It is also a region of growing economic importance. Students, travellers, and general readers increasingly need to understand the regions's cultures and customs, at the heart of which is a rich and varied folklore. This book is a brief but thorough introduction to folklore from South Asia, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.

The volume begins with an overview of the cultural background of South Asia, and examines different types of folklore and the difficulties of defining and classifying folklore genres. It then provides a substantial selection of legends, tales, myths, riddles, jokes, and other pieces of folklore from South Asia. This is followed by a look at research on the subject, along with an exploration of South Asian folklore in literature and popular culture. The volume closes with a glossary and a bibliography of print and electronic resources.



"This useful if not exhaustive guide to South Asian folklore is not a reference work in the sense that it should be consulted for specific information; rather, it is more practical for long-term study. A complementary resource would be Routledge's South Asian Folklore: An Encyclopedia (2002). Considering the scarcity of material on the subject, libraries that cannot afford the Routledge book-as well as libraries already owning it-would do well buying this one."—Library Journal

"Korom addresses the topic from several theoretical perspectives...The volume has a central section of examples and texts from all regions and linguistic areas of India that is both instructive and highly enjoyable....This book can be a supplementary reader for courses in Asian religions from high school through college, and can be read profitably by advanced scholars as well."—September

"[A] useful initiation into South Asian folklore for students of South Asia as well as of folklore, and conveys the richness and diversity of the subject in the limited space available. In parts, it also addresses the broader aim expressed in the introduction: to interest advanced scholars from Euro-America and South Asia in a dialogue, bridging theoretical and comparative concerns of the former with the latter's concerns of collection and preservation."—Journal of Folklore Research

"Written for high school students and general readers....[a] comprehensive handbook divided into five chapters, including an introduction, definitions and classifications, examples and texts, scholarship and approaches, and contexts....Although South Asian Folklore is written for people with no folklore background, specialists will appreciate the value of this comprehensive study."—Multicultural Review

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