New Release Books by Frank de Caro

Frank de Caro is the author of Downtown Mardi Gras (2019), An Anthology of American Folktales and Legends (2014), Stories of Our Lives (2013) and Folklore Recycled (2013).

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Downtown Mardi Gras

release date: Aug 01, 2019
Downtown Mardi Gras
After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the surrounding region in 2005, the city debated whether to press on with Mardi Gras or cancel the parades. Ultimately, they decided to proceed. New Orleans’s recovery certainly has resulted from a complex of factors, but the city’s unique cultural life—perhaps its greatest capital—has been instrumental in bringing the city back from the brink of extinction. Voicing a civic fervor, local writer Chris Rose spoke for the importance of Carnival when he argued to carry on with the celebration of Mardi Gras following Katrina: “We are still New Orleans. We are the soul of America. We embody the triumph of the human spirit. Hell, we ARE Mardi Gras." Since 2006, a number of new Mardi Gras practices have gained prominence. The new parade organizations or krewes, as they are called, interpret and revise the city’s Carnival traditions but bring innovative practices to Mardi Gras. The history of each parade reveals the convergence of race, class, age, and gender dynamics in these new Carnival organizations. Downtown Mardi Gras: New Carnival Practices in Post-Katrina New Orleans examines six unique, offbeat, Downtown celebrations. Using ethnography, folklore, cultural studies, and performance studies, the authors analyze new Mardi Gras’s connection to traditional Mardi Gras. The narrative of each krewe’s development is fascinating and unique, illustrating participants’ shared desire to contribute to New Orleans’s rich and vibrant culture.

An Anthology of American Folktales and Legends

release date: Dec 18, 2014
An Anthology of American Folktales and Legends
For folklorists, students, as well as general readers, this is the most comprehensive survey of American folktales and legends currently available. It offers an amazing variety of American legend and lore - everything from Appalachian Jack tales, African American folklore, riddles, trickster tales, tall tales, tales of the supernatural, legends of crime and criminals, tales of women, and even urban legends.The anthology is divided into three main sections - Native American and Hawaiian Narratives, Folktales, and Legends - and within each section the individual stories explore the myriad narrative traditions and genres from various geographic regions of the United States. Each section and tale genre is introduced and placed in its narrative context by noted folklorist Frank de Caro. Tale type and motif indexes complete the work.

Stories of Our Lives

release date: Jul 15, 2013
Stories of Our Lives
In Stories of Our Lives Frank de Caro demonstrates the value of personal narratives in enlightening our lives and our world. We all live with legends, family sagas, and anecdotes that shape our selves and give meaning to our recollections. Featuring an array of colorful stories from de Caro’s personal life and years of field research as a folklorist, the book is part memoir and part exploration of how the stories we tell, listen to, and learn play an integral role in shaping our sense of self. De Caro’s narrative includes stories within the story: among them a near-mythic capture of his golden-haired grandmother by Plains Indians, a quintessential Italian rags-to-riches grandfather, and his own experiences growing up in culturally rich 1950s New York City, living in India amid the fading glories of a former princely state, conducting field research on Day of the Dead altars in Mexico, and coming home to a battered New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Stories of Our Lives shows that our lives are interesting, and that the stories we tell—however particular to our own circumstances or trivial they may seem to others—reveal something about ourselves, our societies, our cultures, and our larger human existence.

Folklore Recycled

release date: May 30, 2013
Folklore Recycled
Folklore Recycled starts from the proposition that folklore—usually thought of in its historical social context as “oral tradition”—is easily appropriated and recycled into other contexts. That is, writers may use folklore in their fiction or poetry, taking plots, as an example, from a folktale. Visual artists may concentrate on depicting folk figures or events, like a ritual or a ceremony. Tourism officials may promote a place through advertising its traditional ways. Folklore may play a role in intellectual conceptualizations, as when nationalists use folklore to promote symbolic unity. Folklore Recycled discusses the larger issue of folklore being recycled into non-folk contexts, and proceeds to look at a number of instances of repurposing. Colson Whitehead's novel John Henry Days is a literary text that recycles folklore but does so in a manner which examines a number of other uses of the American folk figure John Henry. The nineteenth-century members of the Louisiana branch of the American Folklore Society and the author Lyle Saxon in the twentieth century used African American folklore to establish personal connections to the world of the southern plantation and buttress their own social status. The writer Lafcadio Hearn wrote about folklore to strengthen his insider credentials wherever he lived. Photographers in Louisiana leaned on folklife to solidify local identity and to promote government programs and industry. Promoters of “unorthodox” theories about history have used folklore as historical document. Americans in Mexico took an interest in folklore for acculturation, for tourism promotion, for interior decoration, and for political ends. All of the examples throughout the book demonstrate the durability and continued relevance of folklore in every context it appears.
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