The Distinct and Autonomous World of the Oral Legend: Old and New Readings Cover Image

The Distinct and Autonomous World of the Oral Legend: Old and New Readings
The Distinct and Autonomous World of the Oral Legend: Old and New Readings

Author(s): Ljiljana Marks
Subject(s): Customs / Folklore
Published by: Institut za etnologiju i folkloristiku
Keywords: Croatia; 19th century; 20th century; legend; mithology; tradition; retraditionalisation; interpretation

Summary/Abstract: The core hypothesis in this text is that oral tradition, too, as a significant component of cultural identity and the main determinant of the folkloristic profession, is a continuous – historical and contemporary – process of multi-layered interpretation of repetitive procedures and symbols in the human community, and not an inherited cluster of unquestionable facts, spiritual values and completed texts. The interaction between processes of tradition and re-traditionalisation in shaping the manifold aspects of cultural identity is examined on the basis of notations of oral prose, largely mythic and historical legends. The text proceeds from the assumption that tradition is not a set of unchangeable values but rather a creative process by which each individual, generation, writer of notations, researcher or author defines his/her heritage and identity. Therefore, the paper scrutinises which content becomes part of oral tradition in particular time periods, how is does so (how is it reshaped), in which contexts and the significance given it to, also depending on the ruling scholarly paradigms. The actual process of creating tradition is studied in that context, the tradition that people constantly shape and create, deconstruct and renew, perpetuating certain values and re-interpreting them in the search of supports for self-cognisance. Various interpretative levels of tradition, oral legend particularly, also depend, of course, on who is interpreting them, with which intent/purpose/objective; they depend on the conceptions and the value system of the community and the individual and on the social, cultural and political atmosphere.

  • Issue Year: 47/2010
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 91-109
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: English