Legend and Belief {{ currentPage ? currentPage.title : "" }}


Dégh, Linda. Legend and Belief: Dialectics of a Folklore Genre. Indiana UP, 2001.


Dégh examines the role of legend in modern society and the culture in which such tales are constructed. Dégh is not so much concerned about the truth of the legends, but the realities they create. Through "intensive field ethnography, archive and library research, and rigorous text and context analysis", Dégh attempts to describe and interpret legends as "a representative, viable product of Western civilization". She concludes with a warning about the power of legends. That such tales inspire and transform the societies and cultures in which they are created, however horrifying or benevolent the outcome.




"We must recognize what an important role the creation and dissemination of legends play in the society that created and disseminated them" (Dégh 5).

"Legend, as an ideology-sensitive genre par excellence, is a readily available instrument in modern society, in which it plays a leading role in the development and maintenance of a 'culture of fear'" (Dégh 5).

"The legend, even if it is not founded in reality, can create reality" (Dégh 5).

"Thus, the legend has power, the nature of which is unknown and dangerous. And defense against this potential danger is advisable, as it can be used as a weapon in the wrong hands" (Dégh 5).

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