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178 A merican A nlhropologist [70, 19681

Alfred Vierkand!: A Sociological Critique. PAUL overt act must be realized from all points of view.
HOCHSTIM. (An Exposition-University Book.) This starts on the barest level ol linguistic commun-
New York: Exposition Press, 1966. 149 pp., ication and moves widely through the circumstances
bibliography. $6.00. of culture and social structure.
Reviewed by ROBERTF. SPENCER, Such a concept may have some utility, and one
University of Minnesota does, in any case, begin to hear more of the phenom-
enological as an alternative to the purely struc-
Vierkandt was a student of Wilhelm Wundt. tural approach. But if this side of Vierkandt has
Although he died in 1953, his works cluster earlier, some significance, and a glance a t his works indi-
and he may be assigned to the general group of cates that this might be the case, Hochstim’s bias
social thinkers on the Central European scene in the against the phenomenological pretty effectively
early years of the present century. This book, the undermines any contribution that could set Vier-
apparent outcome of a doctoral dissertation in kandt off more positively.
sociology, attempts an evaluation and a critique. I n summary, it is fairly clear that if one is in--
Like much writing in the thesis vein, Hochstim’s terested in Vierkandt, one had better read him and
study relies heavily on quotations from numerous not Hochstim.
authors either to refute Vierkandt’s notions or in
some measure to clarify them. But the result is The Study of Folklore. ALAN DUNDES,ed. Englewood
chaos. If Vierkandt’s German style is turgid, Hoch- Cliffs, N. J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1965. xi, 481 pp.,
stim’s is no less so in English. Add to this the various suggestions for further reading in folklore. $5.95.
citations from a wide variety of sociologists and
anthropologists, thus creating a chapter-and-verse Reviewed by RICHARD M. DORSON,
exegesis, although it is never wholly clear why, and Indiana University
the result is one of the most unreadable books seen This superbly constructed book answers the
in a long time. Moreover, one comes away with a critics and scoffers who say that folklorists merely
sneaking hunch that Hochstim, so surfeited with collect. Dundes has assembled 34 theoretical and
his subject perhaps, has come to loathe it. I n any analytical essays probing the materials of folklore
case, when the reader escapes the barrage of quota- from a variety of perspectives. They demonstrate
tions, there obviously cannot be much left of Vier- the range and ingenuity of concepts employed by
kandt. folklorists of humanistic-literary, functional, psycho-
Really, is Vierkandt worth discussing? Such a analytical, psychological, nature-allegorical, ritual,
question is admittedly not fair to him, and, in all structural, diffusionist, and historical-geographical
justice, it can be said that he has a place in the in- persuasions. They illustrate inquiries into origin,
tellectual history of sociology-anthropology. I t is process, form, and conceptual terms. They cover the
not, to be sure, a place of eminence, but a t least he spectrum of folklore genres: oral narrative, epic
puts forth an idea or two and makes some sugges- song, children’s games, lullabies, proverbs, riddles,
tions that may have contemporary relevance. If folk music, beliefs, folk architecture. They include
one considers the period of Vierkandt’s principal crucial and even classic statements by European
works and the general philosophical commitment folklorists, such as Axel Olrik’s “Epic Laws of
he possessed, it scarcely seems useful to belabor Folk Narrative,” translated for the first time from
dead horses and to use moderns to refute the past. the German, Carl von Sydow’s “Folktale Studies
Hence it may be just as well to try to by-pass briefly and Philology,” F. C. Bartlett’s “Some Experiments
Hochstim’s heavy-handed treatment and lo see if a on the Reproduction of Folk Stories,” and Lord Rag-
quick characterization of Vierkandt is possible. lan’s “The Hero of Tradition.” Most of the con-
Vierkandt combines Wundt’s psychological orien- tributors are American, however, and their writings
tations and the evolutionism of his day, a point re- reflect Dundes’ own intellectual origins and the
flected in his notion of the lack of deliberate ab- maturing of American folklore scholarship.
stract thought in lower cultures; high cultures, of The Study of Folklore in no whit resembles the
course, permit such thought patterns. Vierkandt’s patchwork of hastily thrown together reprints by
problem as a sociologist (rather than as a psychol- which some academics advance their reputations.
ogist) is thus to erect a scheme in which problems Dundes has not only cleverly juxtaposed writings to
such as individual versus group can be resolved. He show the play of differing minds on the same prob-
succeeds, persumably to his own satisfaction, al- lem, as the botanical and Freudian exegeses of
though of course he is clearly overshadowed by “Jack and the Beanstalk,” or the experiments of
Max Weber, certainly by Durkheim, and by several Bartlett, Lowie, Lord, and Cushing in reproducing
other figures whose works immediately come to and re-eliciting traditions. He is far more than an
mind. But probably the major Contribution of arranger; his general introductions to the sections,
Vierkandt, although one lacking a precise system, special introductions to each article, and editorial
might be said to lie in his phenomenological proposi- notes inserted among the authors’ footnotes provide
tions. He stresses that the total implications of an both a guide to the resources of the subject and a
Book Reviews 179
brilliant running commentary on folklore theories overcome “the culture lag in folklore theory” is
and methods. This book is indeed a tour de force, synopsized in his essay, “Structural Typology in
with Coach Dundes calling the signals from the North American Indian Folktales,” proposing the
sidelines, explaining the inner strategy of the plays now well-known structural model based on the unit
to the spectators, and pointing out to the players of motifeme.
their own mistakes. In The Study of Folklore Dundes has given folklore
The notes are both explicitly factual and highly studies an immense stimulus and established him-
theoretical. At the first mention of the type and self as the leading folklorist of his generation.
motif indexes, or Child ballads, or riddle forms, or
Paul Bunyan, Dundes explains the reference and A Bibliography of South Asian Folklore. EDWIN
furnishes bibliography. On other occasions he sup- CAPERSKIRKLAND.(Indiana University Folklore
plies specific type and motif numbers that are only Series, No. 21, Asian Folklore Studies Mono-
vaguely alluded to, especially by anthropologists, graphs, No. 4.) Bloomington: Indiana University
in the articles. On the plane of ideas, he persuasively Research Center in Anthropology, Folklore, and
corrects one master after another. Stith Thompson Linguistics; The Hague: Mouton & Co., 1966.
uses “variant” and “version” indiscriminately, in- xxiv, 291 pp., index. $10.00 (paper).
stead of reserving variant for distinctive versions
(p. 420, note 4), and he fails to consider that frag- Reviewed by EDWARD C . DIMOCK, JR.,

mentary texts may be archetypes just as well as University o j Chicago


fuller ones (pp. 449-450, note 9). Benedict did not Edwin Capers Kirkland has added another
realize that details of the mouse gnawing off the volume to the distinguished series of books, mono-
cock’s bristles and the cock biting off the mouse’s graphs, and papers produced from the Folklore In-
tail, in the celebrated tale of “The Cock and the stitute a t Indiana University. This bibliography
Mouse,” are not Zuni additions but European ele- is especially welcome, because for South Asian
ments (p. 274, note 4). Kluckhohn was unaware of materials there are many sources, some of them
the wide distribution of the vagina dentala motif most obscure and fugitive. Dr. Kirkland and his
(p. 164, note 18). associates in South Asia and in the United States
Dundes is both a demon bibliographer in the have done a commendable job of screening these
labyrinthine maze of folklore publication and a materials, in most of the regional languages of the
theoretician of the first order. In a learned note on area as well as the European ones. I n an unsyste-
“three” as a magic number (p. 133, note 4), he cites matic check, a few important items seem to be
articles from a graduation yearbook of a German missing. But there are 6,852 entries in the bibliog-
secondary school in 1903, from Classical Philology, raphy, and in shuffling this many items a few are
and from L’.4nfiyz& Classique. Elsewhere (p. 93, bound to be overlooked.
note 4) he refers to a German travel book of 1864 It seems a trifle unfair to make picayune criti-
about Greece for thc sexual significance of the cisms of a major job of collection and collation, but
number three. His control of the literature and the I would like to make a suggestion regarding the
thought enables Dundes to discuss authoritatively indexing system, As it is, the items in the body of
and pithily one after another of the major questions the bibliography are entered alphabetically, each
confronting folklorists: polygenesis versus psychic with a reference number. The index gives categories:
unity, fiction versus fact in oral traditional history, ethnic (“Bhil”), geographical (“Bombay”), or
central versus marginal survival, printed versus oral functional (“Bratas”)-and under each of these
channels of transmission, inconsistency in folk categories a further breakdown. Under “Buddhist”
magic. His own preferences are those of the anthro- we have “Custom,” “Demonology,” “Festival,”
pological folklorist focusing on function and process “Ritual,” and “Superstition,” with substantial
(Bascom is the only contributor represented twice), cross-references. These subcategories are those
although this is an eclectic and balanced work. suggested by the title or content of the entries them-
Even his special predilections for structural and selves. This is more than adequate for certain pur-
psychoanalytical studies are muffled. He does issue poses. But one of the more interesting problems
a calm statement pointing out the injustice of this confronting the folklorist in South Asia is the diffu-
reviewer (not named, hut readily identified, p. 88) sion of themes and motifs; the index is difficult to use
in comparing solar mythological and psychoanalyt- for such a study. If one were concerned, for example,
ical symbolism in folklore interpretations, saying with “disease’, as a theme, he would have to check
that psychoanalysts see folklore as a projection of each item in each regional category under relevant
human, not celestial, bodies. And he praises the subcategories such as “Tales,” “Religion,” “medi-
“superb essay” of Ernest Jones in identifying salt cine,” and “Demonology.” I n fairness to the
with semen (p. 96, note 8), and offers additional author, it must be pointed out that such a segrega-
support for Desmonde’s interpretation of “Jack and tion of themes and motifs is a mammoth task, and
the Beanstalk” as a masturbation fantasy (p. 108, one that has already been attempted by Stith
note 3). His own chief theoretical contribution to Thompson’s Motif-Zndez of Folk Literalure. That