An international ensemble of folklore scholars looks at varied
ways in which national and ethnic groups have traditionally and
creatively used imagined states of existence-some idealizations,
some demonizations-in the construction of identities for themselves
and for others. Drawing on oral traditions, especially as
represented in traditional ballads, broadsides, and tale
collections, the contributors consider fertile landscapes of the
mind where utopias overflow with bliss and abundance, stereotyped
national and ethnic caricatures define the lives of "others,"
nostalgia glorifies home and occupation, and idealized and
mythological animals serve as cultural icons and guideposts to
harmonious social life.
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