Perfected Truth: Walter Anderson's Law of Self-Correction Cover Image

Täiustatud tõde ehk Walter Andersoni rahvajuttude enesekontrolli seadus
Perfected Truth: Walter Anderson's Law of Self-Correction

Author(s): Elo-Hanna Seljamaa
Subject(s): Customs / Folklore
Published by: SA Kultuurileht
Keywords: folkloristics; history of folkloristics; Walter Anderson; Law of Self-Correction in folktales; historic-geographic method; storytelling; folktale studies; monogenesis; variation; caleidoscopically changing stories; experimental folkloristics

Summary/Abstract: The aim of the article is to analyse the notions of folklore and folklore research held by Walter Anderson (1885–1962), one of the eminent adherents of the historic-geographic method and the first professor of folklore at the University of Tartu. While several of Anderson's concepts are touched upon, the focus lies on the Law of Self-Correction formulated by Anderson in his 1923 monograph Keiser und Abt. Geschichte eines Schwanks. The purpose of the law was to explain why folktales preserve their integrity despite the variations occurring in each performance. In Anderson's view, the stability of folktales results from storytellers having heard their stories several times and from different sources. The article seeks to connect the Law of Self-Correction to the theoretical and methodological principles of the historic-geographic method and claims that the explanation offered by Anderson helped to naturalize the position of the historic-geographic method as the dominant paradigm in folklore research. It is argued that the Law of Self-Correction is founded on a concept of folktales as autonomous entities governed by their own inherent laws.

  • Issue Year: L/2007
  • Issue No: 11
  • Page Range: 888-906
  • Page Count: 19
  • Language: Estonian