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Poetics of mythical and demonological folk tales of lower Neretva area


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Vekić, Denis. (2016). Poetics of mythical and demonological folk tales of lower Neretva area. PhD Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of Croatian Language and Literature.
(Poslijediplomski doktorski studij kroatistike) [mentor Babić, Vanda].

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This thesis starts from the idea that oral literary heritage in a certain area is transferred from generation to generation and thus retains a sort of narrative continuity specifics, in this case narrative specifics of the lower Neretva area. Since the author of a thesis originates from Neretva valley, and since he was in close contact with the oral traditions and the creative process of storytelling from the earliest years of childhood he knows the mentality, history and culture of the society of which he is part, he notes that the inhabitants of the Neretva valley preserve great oral literary potential especially when it comes to oral traditions that carry a multitude of fiction motives in narratives. With personal experience of narrative potential, and with analysis of oral literature collections, both his and other authors, it has been noticed that the amount of material for studying is on the steady growth. But, due to the lack of time and the conditions it is impossible to collect all the oral traditions in this area. The importance of oral tradition in this area is not neglected even today; evidence to that statement are storytelling patterns in etiological, mythical and demonological folktales with special reference to the spreading of tale about ruler's secret which is, in a special way, associated with archaeological and historical testimonies of lower Neretva area. That tale is still spread among habitants and that process is particularity reflected in the fact that there is almost no child in this area who doesn't know tale of Norin king and his pig head. The first news of the existence of belief in mythical creatures in thi area, such as child stealing fairies who live in caves of lower Neretva area, brought Alberto Fortis in 1774 in his work Viaggio in Dalmazia. Active circulation of motives, as well as the existence of a strong distributional motives in the folktales of this area, points to a community which inherited fragments and codes of pre-Christian beliefs that have coexisted with the Christian codes and which are presented in narratives for which narrators and recipients believe that really happened. We should look for cause for that in the long process of merging of cultural patterns with pre-Christian and Christian elements which mutually complemented each other, and made the perceptual combination of images about the world and man, which are formed through the oral tradition, especially in mythical and demonological folktales. The purpose of this research was collecting and categorizing available collected narrative material in one place and to show integrity and wholeness of the mythical and demonological oral tradition in lower Neretva area. In order to find a largest possible sample for research, it was necessary to find and collect all available records of oral tradition in this area that could bear the characteristics of folktale in general, and then tales in which supernatural beings and manifestations appeared. For the purpose of research here were used primary sources in form of oral tradition collections of renown scientists in field of oral literature and ethnology. 5 Besides that sources, author's personal oral tradition collection, which he collected in year 2007 and 2013, was also used in this research. Oral tradition collections were taped and written by Maja Bošković-Stulli (1956) and (1964), Ivan Ivančan (1964), Stjepan Stepanov (1964), Nikola Bonifačić Rožin (1964) and Josip Milićević (1977). Contemporary collecting activity in the lower Neretva area, made by the author of this research, has shown that the folktale is very much alive among the elderly population, which describes and shows how the world has been seen by society that is already dying. Their ideas about the world and about people are reflected through the contemplation on the removal and/or disappearance of the fairy world. According to them, fairies cannot be seen anymore because of presence of cars, smart phones, computers. In short, because of all that forms of "civilizing" which is in contrast with the world that they knew and with the beliefs that they had. That image of changing world is indicator of consciousness that their society changes and how in all that changes oral tradition suffers. Narrators of lower Neretva area who narrated tales in recent field research are mostly from the right bank of Neretva river and all of them talked with local štokavian ikavian Croatian dialect and didn't bother to talk the standard Croatian language. Besides oral tradition collections, in this research is used the extensive scientific literature that helped in determining specific literary, historical, sociological, religious and anthropological results that are reflected in the mythical and demonological folktales in lower Neretva area. This thesis examines the issues of terminology and definitions of mythical and demonological folktale types in Croatian oral literary theory. Theoretical setting of this research is based on reliance and review of the current theoretical understanding of oral literature and the aspect of oral expression in folktales. Terminology and theoretical classification solutions that scientists here offer are represented and analyzed, and by that, on one place can be seen their opinions in theoretical studies continuity. In that representation can be seen thoughts and opinions from renown scientists such as V. J. Propp, R. Jakobson , P. Bogatirjov, L. Honko, T. Littleton, T. Čubelić, M. Solar, M. Bošković-Stulli, C. W. von Sydow, L. Dégh, Lj. Marks, M. Dragić i S. Botica. Folktales, in context of tales in general, have their specific genre determination. But, when folktale subgenre is analyzed there can be seen unsteadiness in perception and categorization. Noticing the problem of terminology in case of mythical and demonological folktales, this research offers section through former perceptional categories in folktale subgenre distinction. Terms like mythical and demonological are often equated or they were ignored in context of wider understanding of term fiction in those folktales. 6 Reviewing the literature of theoretical considerations of classification scheme it can be seen inconstancy and unsteadiness of used terms. Using the different keys of approach and categorization scientists tried to determine the nature of folktale subgenre. Different from fairy tale, folktale finds their purpose and function in specific community and keeps the multilayered marks of local area pattern and character. Oral literature scholars often encounter classification problems, mostly bending and cracking of strong boundaries between genres. Genre definitions are perceived almost universal because they highlight criteria through which genres can be differentiated. But, that patterns cannot be complete nor comprehensive because nature of narratives are in state of constant motion and transformation. Therefore, this thesis starts on general perception of folktales and analyzes the disagreement of fiction and reality. In theoretical review of this research special attention is shown in relation between fairy tale and folktale, especially through natural - supernatural and true - imagined relation. In that analytical approach opinions, observations and conclusion from authors are shown. Those authors are: J. i W. Grimm, S. C. Littleton, R. Callois, M. Bošković-Stulli, D. Ben-Amos, Z. Škreb, L. Röhrich, A. Jolles, V. J. Propp, B. Holbek, M. Lüthi, T. Todorov, T. Čubelić, Lj. Marks, M. Solar, C. W. von Sydow, B. Bettelheim, F. da Silva, L. Dégh, C. G. Jung, M. Dragić, A. Halpé, E. Rudan Kapec, L. Šešo, S. Botica, and others. Study is directed towards analysis of fiction in context of mythical and demonological folktales. Importance of fiction in fairy tale determination is great and therefore perception, appearance and valorization of folktale were analyzed. Research attention is directed towards use of mythic language and reflection of his discourse on imaging the world and man. By analyzing functional elements of folktale here is shown spectrum of credibility formula of this area. There are also shown classification schemes offered by the other authors. Besides the distribution and circulation of supernatural beings folktale motives, specific motives which had not deserved scientific attention, are also studied. Through multidisciplinary approach those motives are analyzed and shown in new light. As addition to whole research, because of easier visibility and insight into areal schematization of collected and analyzed folktales, and because of motive circulation visibility, mapping of storytelling locations and motives distribution were needed. All mapping and schematizations made in this research were made by author. Table with list of all relevant narrators were also made in purpose of easier material visibility. In studying mythical and demonological folktales, several methods as field research, material analysis comparative analysis, narrative recording, transcription, material classification, 7 description, interpretation, reviewing, graphic visualization, synthesis and quantitative and qualitative evaluation were used. Folktales, especially mythical and demonological, differs from fairy tales in perceptive category and in perception of fiction. Therefore, it is unquestionable the existence of the mythical language in the construction of folktales and that is achieved through several narrative categories such as: feel for mythical space in difference between day and night; understanding the source of sacred power and devil's force as source for demonic activity; relation towards supernatural which is manifested in difference between visible and hidden; interaction with symbols; symbolism of numbers and enumeration. Credibility formulas create pattern in proving the truth of the narrated matter. It is noted that in several classification suggestions motives make the most impact in folktale subgenre categorization. Mythical folktales are marked by the same structure and form which narratives have in general, but inside general categorization of narratives many scholars recognize mythical folktales by the key of motive categorization. But, narratives in general have common classification problem which differs them from all others narrative subgenres. Scholars of oral literature poetics saw that relation between narrator and reception is often ambivalent and that they have different classification scheme than scholars do. Folktales about fairies have different narrative elements than those about demons and demonic beings. While language in folktales about fairies is often shaped with balanced sentences, beauty attributes, descriptive constructions and purified narration, folktales about demons have lots of hyperbolic uses, exaggerations, distancing comments, mockery and impure language which results in curses and obscene words along with humor. Poetic determination of demonological folktales, as they name says, begins from motive spectrum which is based on category of perception. Basically, demonological folktales have personal experience of an encounter with the supernatural, which makes them memorates. Different from mythical folktales, in demonological folktales category of storytelling about horrible is very important and fear motive combined with liberation from fear have their role in this type of folktales. With graphical representation of specific folktales motives appearance analyzed in this study, one can clearly recognize distribution locations of these motives. Last map representation shows appearance of supernatural beings and people with supernatural power according to collected folktales. Those are the places mentioned in studied folktales for which is believed to be locations of supernatural beings and people with supernatural powers sighting. At the very end of study all narrators are listed in table along with basic information about year and 8 location of storytelling. This study for analysis used about hundred folktales and folktales fragments from almost forty narrators from the 1956 to 2013. Scientific contribution of this study is in publishing original narratives of the lower Neretva area. Those narratives in form of folktales are written exactly how narrators formulated them and therefore those texts are valuable source for dialectology researches who want to analyze unmodified narratives of this area followed by audio tracks of their recorded speech. Scientific contribution of this study lies in collecting, classification and analyzing mythical and demonological folktales of lower Neretva area. Such thing haven't been done before this study. Also, the scientific contribution lies in clarifying and deepening the problematic of the genre and subgenre classification of folktales, especially in the case of defining genre boundaries in mythical and demonological folktales and studying the constitutive elements of folktale compared with the fairy tale. With this study, for the first time, corpus of mythical and demonological folktales of lower Neretva area is analyzed and shown on one place. This study contributes in detailed narrative analysis of Croatian oral literature which is one of the constitutional cultural element of Croatian people.

Item Type: PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: Folktales, mythical, demonological, poetics, oral literature, fiction, fairies, mythic language
Subjects: Slavic languages and literatures > Croatian language and literature
Departments: Department of Croatian Language and Literature
Supervisor: Babić, Vanda
Additional Information: Poslijediplomski doktorski studij kroatistike
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2016 08:13
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2016 08:13

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