Ariadne's Thread: A Guide to International Tales Found in Classical Literature

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Cornell University Press, 2002 - Literary Criticism - 548 pages
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From Cinderella to The Boy Who Cried Wolf to The Dragon Slayer to the Judgment of Solomon, certain legends, myths, and folktales are part of the oral tradition in countries around the world. In addition to their pervasiveness, these stories show an astonishing longevity; many such tales are found in classical antiquity. Ariadne's Thread is an encyclopedia of more than a hundred such international oral tales, all present in the literature of ancient Greece and Rome.

It takes into account writings, including early Jewish and Christian literature, recorded in or translated into Greek or Latin by writers of any nationality. As a result, it will be invaluable not only to classicists and folklorists but also to a wide range of other readers who are interested in stories and storytelling. William Hansen presents the familiar form of each tale and discusses the similar ancient story or stories, examining how each corresponds with and differs from that form. He then gives principal sources and, where appropriate, comments on the cultural factors affecting the shape and content of the ancient story, the context of transmission, and issues raised in the secondary literature.

Finally, he provides a bibliography of scholarly studies and the pertinent reference in the standard folk-narrative index, The Types of the Folktale by Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson. Again and again, Hansen demonstrates how ancient narratives are often best understood in the context of the larger tradition. He forces us to rethink the nature of Greek mythology by encouraging an appreciation of the extent to which Greek myths and legends parallel international stories. By virtue of their durability, he says, these orally transmitted stories rank among the world's most successful artistic creations.

 

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Ariadne's thread: a guide to international tales found in classical literature

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Hansen traces the origins of more than 100 folktales to their roots in the literature of antiquity. He includes not only stories that have survived in the ancient languages but also early Jewish ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
The Tales
20
Carrying Water in a Sieve fi Danaides
69
CatchTale fo Demades the Orator
75
Cinderella Rhodopis the Courtesan
85
Dead Childs Friendly Return il The Dead Ask the Living
92
Disenchanted Husband Cupid and Psyche
100
Dog on the Bridge Alexander and the Donkey Driver
114
Holding Up the Rock S Holding Up the Sky
197
Hospitality Rewarded Mercury and the Stingy Women
211
House Burned Down to Rid It of Insects H Shirt Burnt to Rid
223
Husbands One Good Eye Covered H Husbands Attention Diverted
225
Learn to Swim
240
Maids Must Rise Even Earlier
255
Money in the Stick
279
Ogre Kills His Own Children HAedon
301

Fairies Send a Message ?i Death of Pan
131
Foolish Man Builds Aircastles iil Gripus
138
Frog King fi Roman Proverb
145
Girl as Helper Jason and Medeia
151
God and the Emperor of Rome Zeus and Tantalos
167
Great Animal or Object
176
Groom Teaches His Horse to Live without Food
187
Old Man and Death
314
Person Does Not Know Himself
327
Quest for a Vanished Princess H Apollo of the Vultures
352
Sailor and the Oar H Odysseus
371
Bibliography
491
Index of Ancient Sources
533
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Hansen is Chair and Professor of Classical Studies and Professor of Folklore at Indiana University.

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