I’ve advertised it a couple of times now, but our book The Folkloresque has finally been officially released. You can order it here in both physical and digital editions, and right now if you use the code “50for50” you can get it for 50% off. (Online retailers like Amazon don’t have their copies in stock just yet, but will soon.)
The book is a collection of essays by different folklorists and other scholars which all examine the ways popular culture uses the stuff we normally call “folklore.” The basic premise is that popular culture creators often manufacture something that seems, for all intents and purposes, to be “real” folklore, and that this process reveals really interesting things about how people think about folklore and other aspects of culture.
In the past folklorists used negative terms like “fakelore” to describe this kind of material. We take the opposite approach, and suggest that folkloresque stuff is not only worth studying as a serious form of culture, but is also connected to “real” folklore (note the quotation marks) in really intricate ways, and can in fact become “real” folklore. We also argue that this stuff is really cool. (And we also implicitly argue that the whole concept of fakelore is dumb, and if you read the first paragraph of that Wiki I linked above, you’ll see why.)
Some of the topics covered in the volume include: Miyazaki Hayao’s film “Spirited Away”; Victorian fairylore; the works of Neil Gaiman; Superman comics; the Fatal Frame games; Penn State jokes; and Harry Potter. These, and all the other subjects considered by the contributors, make use of folklore or make up folklore in pretty creative and compelling ways.
This is an academic work, heavy on the analysis. If you’re interested in reading a collection of tales, I’m afraid you won’t find one here. But if you’re interested in seeing some of the ways folklorists (and other academics) think about this stuff, you could do worse than The Folkloresque.