Storytelling Around the World: Folktales, Narrative Rituals, and Oral Traditions

ABC-CLIO. Mar. 2022. 283p. ISBN 9781440872945. $97. REF
Part 1 of this book by Cvorovic (anthropology, Arizona State Univ.; Roast Chicken and Other Gypsy Stories) and Coe (emerita, public health, Indiana Univ./Purdue Univ.-Indianapolis; The Ancestress Hypothesis) offers five well-written broad overview essays (eight to nine pages in length each) on the history of storytelling, common elements shared by multiple cultures, storytelling media, lessons taught by the stories, and the evolution of 21st-century storytelling. Part 2 encompasses alphabetically arranged entries, three to five pages in length each, on the storytelling traditions of 52 Indigenous societies. These are located in Africa (19 of the 52 societies), South America (five), North America (11), Oceania and Asia (11), Europe (three), and the Middle East (three). Indigenous peoples covered include the Ashanti, Zulu, Incas, Maori, Basque, and Kurds. Each entry includes an overview, details on who tells stories and when they are told, creation tales (with excerpts), the purpose behind storytelling in the culture (morals, ethics, values, cultural preservation), and a short print and nonprint bibliography. Similar works recite specific cultures’ tales and myths but omit the tales’ how, why, and background. Glossary entries here define basic terms such as “lineage,” “media,” and “dowry,” while specific cultural words such as “beyts” are overlooked; in addition, better editing would have benefited the work. A cumulative bibliography and detailed index close the presentation.
VERDICT Fascinating for general readers and students interested in storytelling, cross-cultural history, communication skills, anthropology, sociology, or world history.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing