The annotated African American folktales / edited with a foreword, introduction, and notes by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Maria Tatar.

New York : Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W. W. Norton & Company, [2018]
xcii, 651 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 27 cm
First edition.

Get It


African Americans -- Folklore.
Local subjects:
Folk tales -- African-American. (search)
A treasury of dozens of African-American folktales discusses their role in a broader cultural heritage, sharing such classics as the Brer Rabbit stories, the African trickster Anansi, and tales from the late nineteenth-century's "Southern Workman."
"Drawing from the great folklorists of the past while expanding African American lore with dozens of tales rarely seen before, The Annotated African American Folktales revolutionizes the canon like no other volume. Following in the tradition of such classics as Arthur Huff Fauset's 'Negro Folk Tales from the South' (1927), Zora Neale Hurston's Mules and Men (1935), and Virginia Hamilton's The People Could Fly (1985), acclaimed scholars Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Maria Tatar assemble a groundbreaking collection of folktales, myths, and legends that revitalizes a vibrant African American past to produce the most comprehensive and ambitious collection of African American folktales ever published in American literary history. Arguing for the value of these deceptively simple stories as part of a sophisticated, complex, and heterogeneous cultural heritage, Gates and Tatar show how these remarkable stories deserve a place alongside the classic works of African American literature, and American literature more broadly. Opening with two introductory essays and twenty seminal African tales as historical background, Gates and Tatar present nearly 150 African American stories, among them familiar Brer Rabbit classics, but also stories like 'The Talking Skull' and 'Witches Who Ride,' as well as out-of-print tales from the 1890s' Southern Workman. Beginning with the figure of Anansi, the African trickster, master of improvisation--a spider who plots and weaves in scandalous ways--The Annotated African American Folktales then goes on to draw Caribbean and Creole tales into the orbit of the folkloric canon. It retrieves stories not seen since the Harlem Renaissance and brings back archival tales of 'Negro folklore' that Booker T. Washington proclaimed had emanated from a 'grapevine' that existed even before the American Revolution, stories brought over by slaves who had survived the Middle Passage. Furthermore, Gates and Tatar's volume not only defines a new canon but reveals how these folktales were hijacked and misappropriated in previous incarnations, egregiously by Joel Chandler Harris, a Southern newspaperman, as well as by Walt Disney, who cannibalized and capitalized on Harris's volumes by creating cartoon characters drawn from this African American lore. Presenting these tales with illuminating annotations and hundreds of revelatory illustrations, The Annotated African American Folktales reminds us that stories not only move, entertain, and instruct but, more fundamentally, inspire and keep hope alive."--Dust jacket flaps.
Foreword: The politics of "Negro folklore" / by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Introduction: Recovering a cultural tradition / by Maria Tatar
AFRICAN TALES. Making sense of the world with Anansi : stories, wisdom, and contradiction
Figuring it out : facing complications with dilemma tales
Adding enchantment to wisdom : fairy tales work their magic
Telling tales today : oral narratives from Africa
AFRICAN AMERICAN TALES. Defiance and desire : flying Africans and magical instruments
Fears and phobias : witches, hants, and spooks
Speech and silence : talking skulls and singing tortoises
Silence and passive resistance : the tar-baby story
Kindness and treachery : slipping the trap
Joel Chandler Harris and the Uncle Remus tales
Folklore from the Southern Workman and the Journal of American Folklore
Folktales from The Brownies' Book
Zora Neale Hurston collects African American folklore
Lessons in laughter : tales about John and Old Master
How in the world? : pourquoi tales
Ballads : heroes, outlaws, and monkey business
Artists, pro and con : preacher tales
Folkloric cousins abroad : tales from Caribbean and Latin American cultures
Something borrowed, something blue : fairy tales
Prefaces to collections and manifestos about collecting African American lore
Poets and philosophers remember stories : meditations on African American lore
IMAGE GALLERY: Tale-telling sites : at home and in common spaces
Tale-telling sites : places of labor
Illustrated poems by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Joel Chandler Harris and the Uncle Remus tales.
Includes bibliographical references.
Gates, Henry Louis, Jr. editor.
Tatar, Maria, 1945- editor.
Publisher Number: