Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 8, 1897.djvu/296

This page needs to be proofread.

272 Reviews.

Greek Folk-Poesy. Annotated Translations from the WHOLE Cycle of Romaic Folk-Verse and Folk-Prose. By Lucy M. J. Garnett. Edited, with Essays on the Science of Folklore, Greek Folkspeech, and the Survival of Paganism, by J. S. Stuart-Glennie, M.A. 2 vols. London : David Nutt, 1896.

This valuable work, which does credit to authors and publisher alike, is indispensable to all who are interested in modern Greece; for of Greece it is true more than of any other nation, that the national life, character, and aspirations are revealed in the popular tales and ballads. The selection is full and representa- tive ; so that although many volumes might be filled with tales and ballads no less interesting than these, it is possible for those un- acquainted with modern Greek to get from this work a sufficiently wide outlook over the Greek world. The sources from which the contents of the two volumes are drawn make a small library in themselves. They are nearly all collections of folk-literature ; but one or two translations have been made from the modern poet Valaorites, who often most faithfully renders the spirit of popular beliefs ; and some are from ]MS. sources. The first volume is a new edition of the collection pubhshed by the same writers some years ago, but it is greatly enlarged ; and the second is entirely new.

Both verse and prose are classified under the following heads : — I. Mythological : Zoonist, Magical, and Supernahst. IL Social : Ante-nuptial, Family, Communal. IIL Historical : Byzantine, Ottoman, Hellenic. The titles need some explanation. By Zoonist (for which the editor would now prefer to substitute Panzoist) is meant all that illustrates the idea that " inanimates ... no less than plants and animals " are " conceived as re- sponsively se-nfietif powers" (ii. 477). Supernalist implies a re- cognition of powers not sentient only, but effective in acting upon other objects, a kind of " natural gods " (ii. 490). It is perhaps useful to have titles to distinguish the ideas here explained, but it must be confessed that those chosen by the editor do not tell their own story; and any one glancing into the book might be repelled by words which have an air of bombast and ostentation. It is a pity, therefore, in our opinion that simpler terms were not hit upon, or