The Power of a Tale
Stories from the Israel Folktale Archives
Edited by Haya Bar-Itzhak and Idit Pintel-Ginsberg
Pages: 488 Size: 7x10
In The Power of a Tale: Stories from the Israel Folktale Archives, editors Haya Bar-Itzhak and Idit Pintel-Gensberg bring together a collection of fifty-three folktales celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Israel Folktale Archives (IFA) at the University of Haifa. Established by the folklorist Dov Noy in the 1950s, the IFA is the only archive of its kind in Israel and serves as a center for knowledge and information concerning the cultural heritage of the many ethnic communities in Israel.
For this jubilee volume, contributors each selected stories from the more than 24,000 preserved in the archives and wrote an accompanying analytic essay. Stories selected represent 26 different ethnic groups in Israel, 22 of them Jewish. The narrators of the stories come from a variety of ethnic backgrounds and education levels. They include both men and women of various ages who worked in diverse fields. Some were long settled in Israel while others were recent arrivals when their stories were collected and transcribed. They all shared one conspicuous quality—their talent as storytellers. The stories they tell encompass a myriad of genres and themes, including mythical tales, historical legends, sacred legends, demon legends, realistic legends, märchen of various sorts, novellas, jokes and anecdotes, and personal narratives.
Contributors employ diverse approaches to analyze and interpret the stories. The methods applied include the classic comparative approach, which looks at tale types, oikotypes, and motifs; formalism, which considers narrative roles and narrative functions; structuralism, which aims to uncover a story’s deep structure and its binary oppositions; a psychological approach, which analyzes the tales using psychological theories, ranging from Freud to Lacan; Marxist theory, which sees the folktale as an expression of the class struggle; and more.
Translated for the first time into English, the stories included and accompanying essays are evidence of the lively research being conducted today on folk literature. Scholars and students interested in Jewish folklore and literature will appreciate this diverse collection as will readers interested in Jewish and Israeli culture.