Western Folklore

Vol. 71, No. 2 – Spring, 2012


Can the ‘Peasant’ Speak?: Witchcraft and Silence in Guillaume Cazaux’s “The Mass of Saint SÚcaire”
William G. Pooley

ABSTRACT: This article proposes a close reading of a description of witchcraft collected in southwestern France in the nineteenth century. Drawing on archival research into the informant and the folklorist it suggests that such a text, for all of its failings, still has much to teach historians about the situation of contact between the world of the folklorists and their predominantly rural informants. KEYWORDS: witchcraft, modernization, bodies, historical method, history of folkloristics

Recovering Meanings Lost in Interpretations of Les Rites de Passage
Juwen Zhang

ABSTRACT: Translating rites de marge into “transition rites” in the model of the rites of passage marked not only a lost semantic meaning but also the influences from certain anthropological orientations. While the model has profoundly affected the development of folkloristic and anthropological theories, the lost meanings in the model have also hampered the advance of related studies. Examining the concerning scholarship, this study explores the original meanings and multiple implications of the model in new social contexts. KEYWORDS: rites of passage, rites of margin, marginality, liminality, ritual transition

Of Love Potions and Witch Baskets: Domesticity, Mobility, and Occult Rumors in Malawi
Anika Wilson

ABSTRACT: In Malawi, rumor and gossip reveal tensions surrounding the association between male mobility, marital and kin conflict, and occult practices. One of the main concerns surrounding labor migration is the danger of men forgetting their families back home while on a mission to enrich those families. By contrast, stories about love potions for controlling men’s extramarital sexual relationships warn that an unintended consequence of love medicine is total immobility. KEYWORDS: migration, marriage, Malawi, occult, modernity


Della Hooke, Trees in Anglo-Saxon England: Literature, Lore and Landscape
Reviewed by Corey J. Zwikstra

William Lynwood Montell, Tales of Kentucky Ghosts
Reviewed by Rosalynn Rothstein

Matthew D. Esposito, Funerals, Festivals, and Cultural Politics in Porfirian Mexico
Reviewed by Eckehard Pistrick

Pauline Greenhill and Sidney Eve Matrix, editors, Fairy Tale Films: Visions of Ambiguity
Reviewed by Dana Everts-Boehm

Joe Perry, Christmas in Germany: A Cultural History
Reviewed by Susan Nyikos

Mary Ellen Brown, Child’s Unfinished Masterpiece: The English and Scottish Popular Ballads
Reviewed by Julie Henigan

Thomas A. Adler, Bean Blossom: The Brown County Jamboree and Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Festivals
Reviewed by John Bealle

Charles D. Thompson Jr., Spirits of Just Men: Mountaineers, Liquor Bosses, and Lawmen in the Moonshine Capital of the World
Reviewed by James Deutsch

Burt Feintuch, with photographs by Gary Samson, In the Blood: Cape Breton Conversations on Culture
Reviewed by Tok Thompson