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Fowke, Edith and Carole H. Carpenter.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, c1985. 400pp, paper, $14.95, ISBN 0-7710-1909-2. CIP

Grades 10 and up
Reviewed by Anne Locatelli

Volume 13 Number 5
1985 September

This amply documented collection of addresses, essays, and lectures pertaining to Canadian traditions and folklore represents a very valuable document for those interested in ethnological studies. The entries range in time over a century or more and deal with oral traditions of both native and immigrant Canadians. Each item is prefaced by introductory notes with information about the author and an explanation of why the article was included in the collection. The selections are divided and grouped under four general headings. "Early Accounts," deals with life among the Haida, the buffalo hunt, some dialects of Newfoundlanders, and Eskimo superstitions. "Personal Experience Accounts" presents first-hand descriptions of old time customs of the Scots and Mennonites, their songs and their ballads. "Surveys" tells about the collecting of information and relates some very special personal accounts. This section provides much interesting background information on the people who have preserved and handed down traditions and songs. Finally "Analyses" gives us more straightforward folkloristic pieces, including detailed surveys of folk dances and music patterns. A high percentage of the material deals with songs and music; it seems that detailed descriptions of dance steps, music, and songs are more abundantly preserved than other folkloristic materials. The work is often more analytical and scholarly than simply informative and narrative. The sources of each item are listed at the back of the book and are followed by a brief biography. Footnotes for each article are also provided at the back of the volume.

This original anthology has definite merit. Through its pages comes a better understanding and acceptance of different cultures and peoples, their customs, and their approaches to life. Explorations in Canadian Folklore could also be used to enhance and promote appreciation of different forms of artistic expression.

While this collection has much to offer an interested serious reader, it may also be used as background material for students in a multicultural or visual art class and generally by those interested in the humanities.

Anne Locatelli, Elliot Lake S.S., Elliot Lake, Ont.
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