Imagined Performances: Comoran Folktales

Lee Haring
Forthcoming in 2018

Imagined Performances is two books in one: a set of serious and funny folktales told on the African island of Mayotte, and a theoretical examination of some problems in the study of folklore. Professor Lee Haring translates these delightful stories into English for the first time, inviting his reader to imagine what they are like in live performance. Tales of tricksters, murderers, and marriages are explored, with a particular focus on the ways Mahorais storytellers portray and analyze the roles of women as both wives and storytellers.

Haring draws on analytic and interpretive methods in literary criticism, anthropology, and folkloristics, to argue that the linguistic and cultural gaps between Islamic culture and the west can be bridged by imagining the performance of a tale in a village. Then the western reader can answer the question, "Why would anybody like this?” through insight into how Comorans understand their society and their place within it.

A valuable addition to the World Oral Literature Series, Imagined Performances is essential reading for people who study folktales. Its translations will engage anybody who likes to be told a good story.




Imagined Performances: Comoran Folktales
Lee Haring | Forthcoming 2018
World Oral Literature Series, vol. 10 | ISSN: 2050-7933 (Print); 2054-362X (Online)
ISBN Paperback: 978-1-78374-575-3
ISBN Hardback: 978-1-78374-576-0
ISBN Digital (PDF): 978-1-78374-577-7
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 978-1-78374-578-4
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 978-1-78374-579-1
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0154

Lee Haring is Professor Emeritus of English at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York and the recepient of the 2013 American Folklore Society Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award. He specializes in the oral literatures of the Indian Ocean islands, and his Malagasy Tale Index is a standard reference work in the field. He has conducted folklore fieldwork in Kenya, Madagascar, and Mauritius. In Verbal Arts in Madagascar he mapped the interrelations of the island’s riddles, proverbs, poetry, and oratory. His book Stars and Keys: Folk-tales and Creolization in the Indian Ocean shows the cultural interrelations of five sets of islands – Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion, the Comoros, and Seychelles – through translating and commenting on over a hundred stories. In Mauritius he has published the bilingual field manual Collecting Folklore in Mauritius in English and Kreol; in India he has published two tale collections. With OBP he has published How to Read a Folktale: The ‘Ibonia’ Epic from Madagascar (2013). He has taught in graduate folklore programs at the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Connecticut.