“Fly Away, Jack”: Identifying a Folk Illusion in DARE

Clai Rice (University of Louisiana, Lafayette)

Systematically searching The Dictionary of American Regional English for textual traces of folk illusions turned up a likely candidate under the heading of “Jack and Jim” (also called “fly away, Jack,” or “Peter and Paul”). Following Elliot Oring’s recent appeal to folklorists to highlight deductive analyses in their work, I deduce that “Jack and Jim” is a folk illusion based on five general principles governing FIs and illusions more broadly. Examining the variants cited in the dictionary's sources illuminates different ways that collectors have understood the embodied elements of the performance text.

Part of 01-09 Folklore and Science Section Prize Winning Panel [hybrid], Thursday, October 13, 8:30 am–10:00 am