Myths, Legends, and Folktales of America: An Anthology

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Oxford University Press, Jan 28, 1999 - Fiction - 240 pages
This marvelous collection brings together the great myths and legends of the United States--from the creation stories of the first inhabitants, to the tall tales of the Western frontier, to the legendary outlaws of the 1920s, and beyond. This thoroughly engaging anthology is sweeping in its scope, embracing Big Foot and Windigo, Hiawatha and Uncle Sam, Paul Revere and Billy the Kid, and even the Iroquois Flying Head and Elvis. In the book's section on dogmas and icons, for instance, Leeming and Page discuss the American melting pot, the notion of manifest destiny, and the imposing historical and literary figure of Henry Adams. And under Heroes and Heroines, they have assembled everyone from "Honest Abe" Lincoln and George "I Cannot Tell a Lie" Washington to Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, and Martin Luther King, Jr. For every myth or hero rendered here, the editors include an informative yet readable excerpt, often the definitive account of the story in question. Taken as a whole, Myths, Legends, and Folktales of America reveals how waves of immigrants, encountering this strange land for the first time, adapted their religions, beliefs, and folklore to help make sense of a new and astounding place. Covering Johnny Appleseed and Stagolee as well as Paul Bunyan and Moby Dick, this wonderful anthology illuminates our nation's myth-making, enriching our idea of what it means to be American.

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Myths, legends, and folktales of America: an anthology

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This entertaining anthology presents the astonishing breadth of American folklore, embracing beliefs, myths, sketches, and tall tales that reflect the American experience. Though modest in length, it ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
3
DEITIES DEMIDEITIES DOGMAS AND ICONS FOR A NEW LAND
7
NEW WORLD MYTHICAL MONSTERS AND FABULOUS CREATURES
71
NEW WORLD HEROES AND HEROINES
97
Conclusion
207
Bibliography
211
Text Credits
215
Index
217
Copyright

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Page 42 - Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor; Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
Page 194 - I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
Page 191 - But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.
Page 39 - The American is a new man, who acts upon new principles; he must therefore entertain new ideas, and form new opinions.
Page 39 - He is an American, who leaving behind him all his ancient prejudices and manners, receives new ones from the new mode of life he has embraced, the new government he obeys, and the new rank he holds.
Page 44 - Chorus: Yankee Doodle, keep it up, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Mind the music and the step And with the girls be handy.
Page 125 - I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
Page 191 - Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves, who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

About the author (1999)

David Leeming is a former Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Connecticut and also the author of many books, including The World of Myth, Mythology: The Voyage of the Hero, and Amazing Grace: A Life of Beauford Delaney. Jake Page is an essayist, science writer, novelist, and co-author with his wife Susanne of the books Hopi and Navajo. Leeming and Page have collaborated in the past on Goddess and God, both published by Oxford.

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