Let There Be Lore: William John Thoms as New Media Entrepreneur

Hannes Mandel (University of Texas at Austin)

In 1846, the British antiquary William John Thoms established a neologism modeled explicitly after similar German compounds: “Folk-Lore.” Folklore, however, differs significantly from, say, the “Volksmärchen” of German Romanticism. While the latter, even after their transmutation into various degrees of “Kunstmärchen” at the hands of German philology continued to be what they had been before, i.e. recognizable material texts, it is much more difficult to determine, in the light of post-Romantic sobriety: what, after all, had been “Folk-Lore”? My talk tries to answer this question by investigating the material basis of folklore at the outset of its conceptual history.

Part of V4-04 Folklore Methodology: New (and Old) Approaches, Thursday, October 12, 8:00 am–10:00 am