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"Thompson believed the folktale to be an important and living art, underlying all literary narrative forms. Most of all he wanted to acquaint readers with most of the great folktales of the world, not only for their own interest as stories, but as elements of culture. He writes about the nature and form of the folktale, gives an account of tales from Ireland to India, devotes a special section to the North American Indian tales and myths, and another to the methods of collecting, classifying, studying folktales as a living art. He found them rich and varied sources of entertainment and wisdom. So much is to be found in them, he said, that the talents of literary critics, historians, anthropologists, psychologists, linguists are all necessary. Study of the folktale involved 'more talents than one man can easily possess. Stith Thompson came close to possessing them." (Los Angeles Times). "Thompson's work in their field has shaped the study of this form of literature for the past three decades. In this classic work Thompson discusses a wide range of story motifs and retells their basic patterns.
His classifications and descriptions of the huge mass of folk literature are extremely enjoyable reading. He also discusses the background to his own study of the folktale. He includes an index to tale types classified according to the main story motifs which can be used for reference. This outstanding book is very highly recommended as fascinating reading." (Kliatt Paperback Book Guide). "The Folktale will appeal to a wide public: the student of sociology of literature, the professor of comparative literature, the general reader interested in folklore. Thompson's book is a scholarly masterpiece." (Studies in Short Fiction).