Northern Tales: Stories from the Native Peoples of the Arctic and Sub-Arctic Regions (Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)

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9780375702679: Northern Tales: Stories from the Native Peoples of the Arctic and Sub-Arctic Regions (Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)
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By turns tragic and comic, a collection of more than one hundred tales displays the cultural richness and diversity among more than thirty tribes of the arctic and subarctic regions and explores the relation of human and nature in the far North. Original.

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Review:

Mention the Arctic and most people think of the North Pole, polar bears, Eskimos, and a whole lot of ice and snow. That's fine, as far as it goes, but there's a lot more to the Arctic and subarctic than Nanook of the North. Consider, for example, the Ainu people of Hokkaido, an island of Japan, or the Chukchee of Siberia; add in the native peoples of Greenland, Canada, and the Aleutian Islands and you've got a vast geographical area diverse in cultures. Different as the traditions and individual ways of life might be from tribe to tribe and region to region, there are some fundamental similarities in Arctic peoples' experience--a harsh and unforgiving environment, hunting and fishing as a way of life, and, above all, a rich oral tradition. It is with this oral tradition that Howard Norman is chiefly concerned. He has collected 116 folktales from a variety of northern peoples and organized them into categories such as "Tricksters and Culture Heroes," "Shaman Stories," and "Stories of Strange and Menacing Neighbors," among others. Each section is prefaced with a short introduction that provides a solid basis for understanding important themes. Whales, skunks, cannibals, and ghosts are just some of the characters that populate these tales from the top of the world.

About the Author:

Howard Norman is the author of numerous books, most recently Devotion, In Fond Remembrance of Me, and The Bird Artist. He was twice a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction and has received a Lannan Literary Award, three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, and the Harold Morton Landon Prize in translation from the Academy of American Poets. He is a professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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