Thresholds to an Alternate Realm

Mapping the Chaseworld in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens
  • Mary Hufford
Part of the Human Behavior and Environment book series (HUBE, volume 12)


Folklorists tend to study cultures and communities by paying close attention to stylized genres or traditional expressive behaviors. In recent decades as the emphasis in the field of folklore has shifted from studies that are text centered to studies that are more context oriented, a number of folklorists have turned their attention to the interrelations of tradition and environment. Of all genres attached to places, narratives and place names traditionally have drawn the most attention from folklorists. In particular, folklorists have long sensed a deep connection between legendry and topography (Dorson, 1971) and have undertaken studies of migratory legends, and the role of physical settings, in nurturing narrative traditions (Honko, 1981; Moss, 1983). Gradually the collection and study of folklore as static migratory items has developed into the investigation of the reciprocity between traditional genres and their settings (Allen, 1990). Folklore, which “vivifies place” is seen to be inspired and reinforced by distinctive physical features in the local setting (Moss, 1983). Lauri Honko notes that when “milieu dominants” as he calls such features, are constituted as places, their names become a powerful means of perpetuating local tradition (Cochrane, 1987; Honko, 1981). Other scholars have explored ways in which communities use traditional materials both to enhance their sense of belonging within a locale or region and to distinguish themselves from outsiders (Jones, 1976).


State Forest Place Attachment Pine Barren Narrative Tradition Finite Province 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Hufford
    • 1
  1. 1.Library of CongressAmerican Folklife CenterUSA

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