Colonial Theories of Folklore
This chapter describes the lack of a formulated theory regarding the folklore materials collected by the British colonial collectors. In contrast to these claims, close reading of colonial texts allows the chapter to propose that colonial collectors constantly offered theoretical abstractions of folklore. “Theory” in folkloristics is that particular frame in which any collector defines the relationship between “folk” and their “lore.” Without the articulation of the relationship between folk and lore, there would be no discipline of folkloristics, only textualized orality. To understand the theory of colonial folkloristics, the chapter proposes here the use of Grimms’ introduction to Children’s and Household Tales as the point of comparison.
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