Elizabethan Storytelling

Bibliography and Sources

This workshop is available on the Web at http://vasa.communitypoint.org/articles/elizabethan_storytelling/index.html.

Works about Elizabethan stories and storytelling

Beowulf: A New Verse Translation. Translated by Seamus Heaney. W.W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition, 2001. ISBN: 0393320979. First written before 1100, and perhaps before 800. The text is available online.
the Cumaean sibyl, manuscript illumination by an anomymous authorThe Cumaean sibyl. The image on the workshop home page is an illumination from the manuscript De discordantia inter Eusebium Hieronymum es Aurelium Augustinum approbatus sibyllarum dictis omniumque gentilium et venterum propheyarum qui de Christo vaticinati sunt, Filippo de' Barbieri, O.P., 1481. The artist is unknown. The manuscript is in the collection of the Vatican Library. This electronic image from the Library of Congress, from during an exhibit that included this work.
Early Irish Myths and Sagas (Penguin Classics). Translated by Jeffery Gantz. Penguin USA; Reprint edition, 1982. ISBN: 0140443975. The text of many of the Irish myth cycles is available online.
Gesta Romanorum. The Latin title means Deeds of the Romans. In English it is often titled Entertaining Moral Stories Invented by the Monks. A collection of stories, each titled for a Roman emporer, some of them historical, and beginning "In the reign of ..." Few or none of the stories are actually Roman in origin. Each ends with a moral application. Generally the plots end suddenly and artificially in a way that serves the moral of the story but is dramatically unsatisfying. The stories were written as a sourcebook for sermons by priests. The collection became extremely popular and a source of plots for many Renaissance writers. Shakespeare and a few others could take these unsatisfying plots and turn them into wonderful stories. It was originally written in manuscript in Latin, possibly before 1100. Many manuscript copies exist in which the copyist inserted additional stories, which vary between locations. It was translated into Middle English approximately 1500, and the first printed edition is from approximately 1510. A current edition in Modern English is edited by Wynnard Hooper, translated by Charles Swan. AMS Press, 1984. ISBN: 0404500099. An edition in Latin is Gesta Romanorum 1595. Scholars Facsimiles & Reprint, 1973. ISBN: 082011118X. The Latin text is available online. The Middle English text is available online.
The Mabinogion (Penguin Classics). Viking Press; Reprint edition, 1976. ISBN: 0140443223 The text is available online.
The Penguin Book of English Folktales. Edited by Neil Phillip. Penguin USA; Reprint edition, 1993.
al Tannukhi. English editions typically translate the title as The Table Talk of a Mesopotamian Judge. Originally written before 1600. Edited by D. S. Margoliouth. Royal Asiatic Society, 1922
Arne, Antii and Thompson, Stith.
The Types of the Folktale : A Classification and Bibliography. Indiana University Press; 2nd Revision edition, 1995. Arne and Thompson extracted the major plot themes found in stories worldwide and cross referenced a huge selection from Thompson's motif index according to theme. The two works are standard tools when tracking the history of a story.
Baring-Gould, Sabine.
Curious Myths of the Middle Ages. Rivingtons, 1867. A recent edition is Scholarly Press, 1976. Parts of this work are available online.
Briggs, Katherine.
A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language. Four volumes, London, 1970. A recent paperback edition in two volumes: Routledge, 1991. ISBN: 0415066964.
Burns, Robert.
The Complete Poems and Songs of Robert Burns. Geddes & Grosset, 2002. ISBN: 1855349825. Burns' works are available online.
Campbell, John.
Popular Tales of the West Highlands. First published in four volumes between 1860 and 1862. A current edition: Birlinn, 1994. ISBN: 1874744157 (Volume 1) Parts of this work are available online.
Cavendish, George.
The Life of Cardinal Wolsey. London, For Harding and Lepard, 1827. Originally written approximately 1540. Cavendish was Wolsey's personal usher during Wolsey's years of influence in the court of Henry VIII. This biography is an eyewitness account of those years, up through the ascendancy of Anne Boleyn. The text is available online.
Chaucer, Geoffrey.
The Canterbury Tales. Translated by Nevill Coghill. Penguin USA, 2003. ISBN: 0140424385. The text is available online.
Child, Francis.
The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. First published in five volumes 1882-1898. The original volumes are out of print. A new edition is Loomis House Press; 2nd edition, 2002. The first volume is ISBN: 0970702027. Loomis plans to release all five volumes. The text is available online. A concordance is online, though it is a 30 Mb file and not an interactive service.
Encyclopedia Britannica.
The 1911 edition is now in the public domain and is available online. The article on the 1568 Eisteddfod is available online.
Fox, Adam.
Oral and Literate Culture in England, 1500-1700 (Oxford Studies in Social History). Oxford University Press, 2002. ISBN: 0199251037. This work contains a rich survey of and references to primary sources.
Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm.
Grimms' Fairy Tales. Originally published in 1812 as Kinder- und Haus-märchen. A current edition is Grimms' Tales for Young and Old : The Complete Stories. Ralph Manheim (translator). Anchor, 1983. ISBN: 0385189508. The Grimms published a huge collection of folk tales. Not English, but tales from many countries had made their way to England in the Renaissance. The text is available online (at Project Gutenberg).
Jacobs, Joseph.
English Fairy Tales. First appeared in the late 1800s. The text is available online.
Jacobs, Joseph.
Celtic Fairy Tales. First appeared in the late 1800s. The text is available online.
Lang, Andrew.
The Coloured Fairy Books. Published in 11 volumes titled by color: The Blue Fairy Book, etc. The texts are all available at Project Gutenberg: Blue, Brown, Crimson, Green, Grey, Lilac, Orange, Pink, Red, Violet, Yellow.
70 Dialogues. University of Oklahoma Press, 1977. This is a classical Roman source for many Renaissance writers.
Malory, Thomas.
Le Morte d'Arthur. First printed 1485. Despite the French title, Malory actually translated French versions of the Arthur stories into Middle English, and arranged them into a complete cycle. Translated by Keith Baines. Signet; Reissue edition, 2001. ISBN: 0451528166. The text is available online.
Opie, Iona and Peter.
The Classic Fairy Tales. Oxford, 1974. The Opies were academic colleagues of J.R.R. Tolkien at Oxford.
Pepys, Samuel.
The Diary of Samuel Pepys. Pepys wrote his diary between 1660 and 1668. University of California Press, 1970 (multiple volumes). The text is available online.
Public Broadcasting System.
In Search of Shakespeare. First broadcast February 4 2004 on PBS affiliate stations. A four part video biography of William Shakespeare, the most famous of the Elizabethan bards, and one who worked in both oral and written forms. Information associated with the biography is available online.
nic Leodhas, Sorche.
Thistle and Thyme. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1962. Traditional Scottish tales collected by a storyteller from a family of traditional travelers.
Steel, Flora Annie.
English Fairy Tales, first printed 1918. The text is available online.
Thompson, Stith.
Motif-Index of Folk-Literature: A Classification of Narrative Elements in Folktales, Ballads, Myths, Fables, Mediaeval Romances, Exempla, Fabliaux. Indiana University Press, 1990. ISBN: 0253338859. Thompson's exhaustive multiple volume list of plot motifs found in thousands of folk tales worldwide. This and Arne and Thompson's tale types are standard tools when tracking the history of a story.
Tolstoy, Nikolai.
The Quest for Merlin. Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1985. Tolstoy documents the historical evidence for the Welsh poet whose name may have become attached to the Merlin legend. Includes translations of early Welsh poems.
University of Toronto.
The Renaissance Electronic Library is an online collection of primary sources from the period.
Yeats, W. B..
Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland. Originally published 1888. A reprint edition is available from Macmillan, 1973. Yeats was an important modern Irish poet. One of his avocations was collecting Irish folklore. This work is a large collection of mostly short folk tales from the Irish countryside in the mid-1800s.
Zimmerman, Georges.
The Irish Storyteller. Four Courts Press, 2001. ISBN: 185182622X. This work contains a rich survey of and references to primary sources.

Works about developing your storytelling skills

Livo, Norma.
Storytelling Process and Practice. Libraries Unlimited, 1992.
MacDonald, Margaret Read.
The storytellers start-up book. Little Rock. August House, 1993.
Moore, Robin.
Awakening the Hidden Storyteller. Shambhala, Boston, 1991. ISBN: 0877735999. This work contains a rich survey of and references to primary sources.
Sawyer, Ruth.
The Way of the Storyteller. Penguin USA; Reprint edition, 1977. ISBN: 0140044361.
Shedlock, Marie.
The Art of the Story-Teller. New York: D. Appleton & Company, 1917 The text is available online.
Sierra, Judy.
Storytellers' Research Guide. Folkprint, 1996
Virginia Storytellers Association (VASA).
The VASA Web site includes references to materials for storytellers.

Texts of Folk and Fairy Tales

The Baker's Daughter.
The story is little known today, but has been collected in several versions. See Douce's Illustrations of Shakespeare, 1807; Malone's Variorum Shakespeare, 1821 (which gives it as a contribution by Douce); The Penguin Book of English Folktales; and Halliwell's Nursery Rhymes of England.
The Brave Little Tailor.
Also known as "Seven At One Blow." The text is available online. The hero is an English example of a trickster, and later became identified with Jack. In many versions he is also something of an antihero, being lazy, cowardly, and scraping by on wits and luck.
Cap O' Rushes.
The earliest version is found in the Gesta Romanorum.
The Cinderella Project compares multiple versions of Cinderella published between 1729 and 1912.
Godfather Death.
This is originally a German tale, included in the Grimms' collection.
Jack and the Beanstalk.
Jack and the Beanstalk and Jack the Giant-Killer Project features multiple versions of the story..
The Man in the Moon.
A number of stories give origins for the man in the moon. One is in Curious Myths of the Middle Ages. A number of Web sites have collected others.
The Miser and His Wife.
Fairy tale versions are derived from a story in Lucian's 9th Dialogue. I have not found an online source for the text.
Mr. Fox.
Mr. Fox is the ancestor of all slasher flicks. The text is available online. Some sources trace Mr. Fox to the Gesta Romanorum, but I have not found it in any of the versions of the Gesta that I know.
The Nixie of the Millpond.
This is originally a German tale, included in the Grimms' collection.
Raw Head and Bloody Bones.
I have not yet found a full text of this story. "Raw Head and Bloody Bones" seems to be the name of a single character, a monstrous entity that lived in a pond and pulled the unwary in to their doom.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. J.R.R. Tolkien (translator). Del Rey; Reissue edition, 1979. ISBN: 0345277600. The text is available online.
The Three Caskets.
An early version is found in the Gesta Romanorum. Many stories echo the theme of choosing wisely, and not by appearances alone.
The Three Heads in the Well.
The theme of this story (virtue rewarded, vice punished) is repeated in hundreds of later stories. The text is available online.
Three Little Pigs.
A comparison of several versions is available online.
Tom Thumb.
Tom Thumb is earliest fairy tale in print in Britain, appearing in 1621. The text is available online.
Twa Corbies.
A version is in English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray. Vol. XL. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909 - 14. This is also collected as Child Ballad #26. The text is available online.
Twelve Wild Swans.
This story is found in many versions: six swans, twelve ravens, twelve brothers, and others. Hans Christian Andersen published a version with eleven swans. This sample is one of many texts available online.
The Two Caskets.
Sometimes titled for one of the incidents in the story, the Girl Who Carried Water in a Sieve. The text is available online.

Thanks for references and recommendations from the communities at Storytell mailing list and the SCA newsgroup. I received specific pointers and information from Anton de Stoc and Conrad Bladey. Thanks for your help.