“Folklore expresses fundamental human needs, desires, and anxieties which are often not revealed through other means” (Simon J. Bronner). It allows people to create traditions, share knowledge, and give meaning to everyday life. The folklore of the British Isles has always been in a constant process of regeneration. The old and the new, the oral, the textual, and the visual have mixed and mingled. Folklore has moved from the countryside to towns and cities and now to the Internet as digital communication encourages new forms of vernacular expression.
The module focuses on folklore beliefs, practices, and representations from prehistory to the present. Topics include: the ritual year; birth, marriage, and death; the supernatural; place; work and play; urban legends and cyberlore. The module considers similarities and differences between England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland and it also encourages you to reflect on the broader global framework. The module includes an optional visit to the British Folk Art Collection at Compton Verney.