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International Encyclopedia of Communications



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Refers to oral narrative in general or to a particular GENRE of oral tales. As a general term folktale succeeds but does not replace the term fairy tale, which continues to be in literary and popular use. Fairy tale, in English at least since 1749, is a translation of the French conte de fée, a term that Contesse d'Aulnoy (Marie-Cathérine le Jumel de Barneville de la Motte) used in the title of her book published in 1697. Folktale is a translation of the German Volksmärchen, which appeared first in Volksmärchen der Deutschen (1782-1786), by Johann Karl August Musäus. The term, like other German compounds such as Volkslied (1778) and Volkskunde (1785), derives from Johann Gottfried von Herder's thought, use, and coinage, particularly his formulation of the concept of das Volk. Folktale, hence is an oral narrative told by peasants, lower classes, or traditional people whose LITERACY, if existing, is minimal. In their verbal art these groups were thought to embody the spirit of a nation. Today the term extends to tales of groups with strong traditional, ethnic, or regional bases or their literary imitations.

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181-187, International Encyclopedia of Communications edited by Barnouw, E., Gerbner, G., Schramm, W., Worth, T.L. & Gross, L., 1989, reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press http://global.oup.com/?cc=us.



Date Posted: 22 September 2017