Tom Tit Tot; an essay on savage philosophy - PDF by Edward Clodd

Tom Tit Tot; an essay on savage philosophy in folk-tale

Tom Tit Tot
Tom Tit Tot


From Introduction;

In commenting on the prominent example of the conversion of the old epics into allegories which is supplied by Tennyson's Idylls of the King, whereby the legends 'lose their dream reality without gaining the reality of ordinary life,' Mr Leslie Stephen remarks that 'as soon as the genuine inhabitants of Fairyland can be interpreted as three virtues or three graces, they cease to fascinate' him. 

With that confession, most people will agree. For alike to those who told the story, and to their hearers, these 'in- habitants of Fairyland' were no buckram-clad personifications of Moralities like the characters in the Mystery Plays of four centuries ago. 

They were real dwellers in a real Wonderland, whose limits are only those of the broad, deep earth, and of the heavens above it. And to convert them into vehicles of edification is not merely to empty them of their primitive significance, but to make vain the attempt to understand the conditions which gave birth and long renown to saga and fireside tale. In the dim past when these were woven out of old traditions, no sharp lines severed nature from super-nature; troll and fairy were part of the vagaries which seemed to make up the sum of things at whose core it entered not the mind of man to conceive that unbroken order might be found. 

Their old mythologies, full of crude and coarse detail, were no fables to the ancient Greeks slowly rising above the barbaric level of ancestors on a plane with the Gold Coast savage who believes his medicine-man when, handing on the traditional cosmogony of the tribe, he tells how the world was made by a big spider. The healthy-natured child, who in many things represents the savage stage of thinking, listens without question to the stories of the Giant who hid his heart in a duck's egg on an island out of harm's way, as; he vainly hoped; and of Beauty and the Beast, where the princess's curiosity led to the retransformation of the enchanted prince to the shape of the loathly monster. To the secular arm, therefore, be delivered any and every book which, catering for the youngsters, throttles the life of the old folk- tales with coils of explanatory notes, and heaps on their maimed corpses the dead weight of bibliographical appendices. 

Nevertheless, that which delighted our childhood may instruct our manhood ; and notes, appendices, and all the gear of didactic exposition have their place elsewhere in helping the student, anxious to reach the seed of fact which is covered by the pulp of fiction. For, to effect this is to make an approach to man's thoughts and conceptions of himself and his surroundings, to his way of looking at things, and to the explanation of his conduct both in work and play. Hence the folk-tale and the game are alike pressed into the service of study of the human mind. Turn where we may, the pastimes of children are seen to mimic the serious pursuits of men. 

Contents:
Introduction.--The story of Tom Tit Tot.--Variants of Tom Tit Tot.--On the diffusion of stories.--Incidental features of the stories.--Barbaric ideas about names.--Magic through tangible things.--Magic through intangible things.--Taboo.--Words of power.--The names and the soul.--Appendix: Bibliography of the Tom Tit Tot group of folk-tales.--Index

the book details :
  • Author: Edward  Clodd
  • Publication date: 1898
  • Company: London: Duckworth and co.

  • Download 7.7 MB

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