A Treasury of Jewish Folklore, edited by Nathan Ausubel
Mr. Ausubel’s anthology contains some excellent items of folklore, but much of it-with the unquestionable exception of some sixty-five songs, music included, and stories such as the one I shall paraphrase first—is not folklore at all, which by his own definition is “a vivid record of a people, palpitating with life itself. . . . ” The fault is solely the anthologist’s, whose sense of life seems to run toward being the “life of the party.” This turns his treasury, in large part, into a joke book and causes his notion of folklore to trail off into popular culture, where the elements are not necessarily “folk” in character.
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