The laughing storyteller: metafolklore about the origins of mummers' plays

  • Author / Creator
    Levitt, Mathew
  • There are a great number of stories told about the English folkplay tradition known as “mummers’ plays.” These stories, told by folklorists, historians, anthropologists, popular fiction writers, performers and audience members can be considered as part of a body of folk commentary or metafolklore. Within this body of metafolklore there are at least five types of narratives told to explain the origins of the tradition. While the historic/factual origins of the mummers’ play phenomenon remain inconclusive, it is possible to trace, if not the genesis, the development of each of the origin stories told about the tradition. What can be observed is the transmission of these narratives not only through space and time but across various forms of media and literature. I propose that, rather than considering scholarship and literature as external or objective forces that have had an influence on mummers’ play metafolklore, perhaps scholarship and literature can be considered as part of the body of metafolklore; as constituents rather than objective observers.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2011
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Palmer, Andie (Anthropology)
    • Spinetti, Federico (Ethnomusicology)
    • Nuttall, Mark (Anthropology)