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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Folklore as a map of the world: rejecting "home" as a failure of the imagination

Elaine J Lawless
Journal of American Folk-lore 2011, 124 (493): 127-46
22165427
For years, I felt that my negative feelings about "home" were completely justified and that I saw no redemption in the area or the people whom I associated with "home." That is not to say that I do not love my family, but there was never any effort on my part to salvage or imagine whatever could have been viewed as—at the very least—constructive and positive about my "home" or how my home and childhood created the blueprint for my own personal "map of the world." I now believe that my rejection of home is actually a failure of my own imagination. In this article, I explore the ways in which I see folklore as constituting a map of our individual and collective world(s)—a comprehensive, if not always a comprehensible, map of our world, one that is often difficult to discern. I have taken the approach that I need to recover the various aspects of the maps my home offered to me, noting first their existence, then their utility, and finally, by extension, exploring how my personal project has become a way for me to rethink folklore as a kind of reconstituting enterprise.

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