(10/14/01 5:46:39 pm)
| Brazilian "fairy tales"|
While rummaging around looking for an obscure point of folklore, I stumbled across a page describing the Brazilian "cordel," a living tradition in which "thin chapbooks printed on cheap paper...sell by the thousands among people who scarcely can afford to buy them and scarcely can read them too . . . The seller or "folheteiro" is supposed to sing aloud the verses to his customers... the traditional use is that somebody buys a folheto and, back home, reads it aloud while the others listen." Gee, I thought, I once had a Brazilian writing student who was passionate about cordels . . .I always felt bad that I didn't keep up with him. . . and then I realized that it was his page!
Braulio talks some about the fairy tale tradition in cordels, which might be fertile ground for somebody. His site is full of interest - if you write to him, please give him my best!
(10/15/01 9:12:10 am)
| Re: Brazilian "fairy tales"|
That sounds absolutely charming! I read through the site, sadly the images would not show. I wonder about the popularity of chapbooks in other cultures? I've read that Charles de Lint has used chapbook form (according to his site) for private use and sometimes auction, and recetly gathered them together in a book. I used "chapbook" form for my first book of fairy tale poems, and plan to use it for my next one based on ballet stories, hopefully rounding out with a third, then gathering them together for a better shot at full binding (right now I use velo binding). Does anyone know if there are technical qualities that make a "chapbook"?
(10/15/01 8:07:54 pm)
| Chap Books|
Somebody please, please save my sanity today and tell me where--where?!--on earth did I just yesterday, when reading a critical study on fairy tales, read a reference to the origins of the phrase "chap books." Please tell me because I just read it yesterday and it's horrifying not to be able to unearth it at present. These were small printings of single fairy tales originally. I was thrilled to read this. Where, oh where. It had to have been Tatar, because I am teaching from her now, but I can't find the reference. I promise you, Kerrie, I just read this. My short-term memory is just awful these days (too much NPR and BBC, I guess). I did just read this. (It wasn't on this board, was it? No, it wasn't, right?) In any case, chapbooks are generally quite short these days--technically, from what I know at least, 32 pages at the most, for contest purposes, if that's your worry?
But I don't think one need care about this sort of convention, do you? Do you like the term 'chapbook' better than book? It has a nice sound for certain purposes, doesn't it.
But all these terms are so odd when you think about them. (Odd and attractive--have you read The Book of the Book, which I've mentioned here probably too often, by Johanna Drucker?) It is my recollection that the phrase chapbook derives somehow from the simple meaning "little book." So if your poetry collection is small, call it one if you want. For example, a novella is "technically" 120 pages, but sometimes they are 70, and sometimes a 120 page novella can be stretched out to full-length with tricks of margins and otherwise and marketed as a novel. On a related note, I once heard Sharon Olds say that the only difference between poetry and prose resides in "the line breaks." Is that related? My brain is mush today. Sorry.
I'm about to check out the Brazilian site--hopefully I will be able to see the images . . .
(10/15/01 8:12:08 pm)
That's a nice site, textually, but I cannot view the images either, alas. I'll definitely seek out some of the further readings your (former!) student suggests, Ellen.
Thanks for posting this--it fills in some of the gaps of what I (think I) read yesterday.
(10/16/01 3:39:15 am)
Well what I do know is that chapbooks were sold by chapmen or "running stationers" who sold small folded eight, sixteen, or 32 pagers out on the streets. That's as close to the origin as I can come.
(10/16/01 5:32:25 am)
| Re: Chap Books|
Which book by Tatar are you using? I can check at the bookstore
or library. Sadly, it appears the Winchester library has none by
her. I'm going to have to draw up a bibliogrpahy for them. (Any
recommendations of books they should absolutely have?)
Hoping to win the lottery someday and have my own library,
(10/16/01 7:06:03 am)
| re:chap books|
This link to the chap book page at Indiana University's Lilly Library gives basic information on
European and North American ones.
(10/16/01 8:21:05 am)
| Re: re:chap books|
Kate and all,
I don't have it at hand, but it seems the Opies mention chap books in some of their histories of the tales. I seem to especially remember a reference to a Jack and the Beanstalk chap book, but I may be going crazy myself. It is in their "The Classic Fairy Tales."
The chap books are a wonderful tradition. I wonder how many of them were lost forever with age..........