Deep Down in the Jungle: Negro Narrative Folklore from the Streets of Philadelphia

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9780202010922: Deep Down in the Jungle: Negro Narrative Folklore from the Streets of Philadelphia

Collected jokes, toasts, and stories from the Northern ghetto, with descriptions of the personalities and styles of the tellers

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About the Author:

Roger D. Abrahams is the founding director of the Center of Folklore and Ethnography at the University of Pennsylvania. His research interests include work on folksongs and ballads, children and African-American folklore, proverb and riddle study, folklore theory, and festival and ritual.

Review:

“Looking at the revised and slightly enlarged second edition of this book, it is not too difficult to see why it was considered such a pioneering work six years ago. It took discussion of the traditional oral performances of American Negroes from the rural to the urban context, wresting contentious and often obscene material from the tentacles of racism by adopting the approach of a scholarly report.”

—Michael K. Wallington, Man

“This is one of the most important American folklore collections yet published, and the first (excluding American Indian) to subject its materials to throughgoing psychological, sociological, and stylistic analysis.... This is a book dense with ideas and hypotheses. Abrahams concludes with a tentative theory of folklore tropisms to account for the structures, text forms, and values characteristic of Camingerley oral expression. If folklore studies have been charged with lacking theory, Abrahams has freighted his ship with the heaviest possible load it can carry and still float.”

—Richard M. Dorson, American Anthropologist

“Abrahams’ work serves as a model for in-depth studies that could be made in other cities and towns.”

—Charles Blaney, Negro American Literature Forum

“The dust jacket of this book tells us that in its first (1964) edition it was an “underground classic,” a nice way of reminding us that it went totally unreviewed the first time around but had considerable influence nonetheless. Now, in a substantially revised form, we are given a second chance.... [T]his book... is the first in many years which takes the leap from the sociology of pathos toward recognizing Afro-Americans as culture bearers and creators.... Deep Down in the Jungle must be required reading for all who would attempt an understanding of lower-class Afro-American life. Hopefully, the book, underground no more, will become simply a classic.”

—John F. Szwed, American Journal of Sociology

“Abraham’s editorial work is carefully done, and his contention that his texts, gathered from a down-at-the-heels neighborhood in south Philadelphia, reveal a good deal about the ideas and standards of the residents is clearly supported.”

—John T. Flanagan, Western Folklore

“Primarily, this study pivots on a sociological perception: urban Negro society is matriarchal and the folklore the society produces and maintains is to a large extent conditioned by, and reflective of, this condition. Though mentioned by numerous social scientists, the concept of matriarchal influence is, to my knowledge, previously undeveloped in folklore studies dealing with the American Negro, perhaps because folklore and sociology have maintained for some years now a successful repulsion for one another’s virtues and activities. The concept works, however, and its application is long overdue.... Not only is Abrahams to be commended for having produced this suggestive and informative work, but so are the University of Pennsylvania and Folklore Associates for having encouraged its production.”

—Bruce Jackson, Journal of American Folklore

 “A second edition of Deep Down in the Jungle is now available. Not only is this edition less expensive than the previous volume, but it is also a very changed book from the one Bruce Jackson reviewed in this journal six years ago.... All of these modifications are to be applauded, for they have made this work a better document on urban Negro folklore, and the book has become even more readable.”

—John M. Vlach, The Journal of American Follklore

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Abrahams, Roger
Published by Aldine Transaction (1963)
ISBN 10: 0202010929 ISBN 13: 9780202010922
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Book Description Aldine Transaction, 1963. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110202010929

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