Cultural Analysis, Volume 12, 2013
Fairy Tales Transformed?: Twenty-First-Century Adaptations & the Politics of Wonder. Cristina Bacchilega. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. 2013. Pp. x + 290, introduction, 60 color plates, epilogue, notes, works cited, filmography, index, acknowledgements.
Once again, accomplished fairy-tale scholar Cristina Bacchilega has produced a superb, thoroughly researched, and well-rounded book of the highest academic and scholarly standards. Fairy Tales Transformed? gives the reader valuable insights into recent fairy-tale scholarship and the politics of wonder at work in the contemporary production and reception of fairy tales.
Divided into an intriguing introduction, four elaborately structured and styled chapters, and a compelling epilogue, the book highlights interwoven-and-yet-divergent social projects envisioned and instigated by fairy-tale adaptations circulating in modern popular culture. Bacchilega investigates how, why, and for whom fairy tales have been changed in the twenty-first century—essential questions that must be asked in today's fairy-tale scholarship. The intertextual links of fairy tales, for instance, no longer refer back to the canonized Perrault-Grimm-Disney triad as central pre-texts. In Chapter One, fairy tales are linked hypertextually and the power dynamics within and among fairy-tale texts have changed. Bacchilega notes that fairy tales have become a multimedia phenomenon and this recognition has not only informed scholarly perspectives, but also taken hold in popular consciousness thanks to the electronic accessibility of fairy tales via websites, blogs, social networks, and online publications. Basing her methodology on a conceptualized "fairy-tale web" of reading and writing practices, Bacchilega argues that we should consider the gender politics of fairy-tale retellings in relation to other dynamics of power and experiences of disjunction. She also stresses that we should "reexamine the relationship of the fairy tale with other genres, including the folktale, as constitutive of its hybridity, in order to become better attuned to competing uses of magic, enchantment, and wonder across cultures and media platforms" (ix). One of the more prevalent transformations of the fairy tale today, described in Chapter Three, has to do with genre mixing, which places the fairy tale in new dynamics of competition and alliance with other genres. While the author analyzes primarily literary and cinematic fairy-tale adaptations, she also brings television, comics, visual art, and drama into keen focus to explore a given theme.
Bacchilega creates an interesting opening for the reader by examining how contemporary understandings and social uses of the fairy tale have changed since the 1970s in the Euro-American history of the genre. She maps out major changes in the cultural deployment of fairy tales by drawing inter-alia on canonical authors of fairy-tale adaptations, such as Anne Sexton, Angela Carter, Margaret Atwood, Robert Coover, A.S. Byatt, Jeanette Winterson, and Salman Rushdie. Bacchilega makes the relevant observations that there is a widespread sensibility and increased awareness of issues of gender in fairy tales, which we see on and off of the Internet, and that the fairy-tale genre has a multivalent currency based on the contemporary proliferation of fairy-tale transformations. In her opening, she successfully weaves together multivocal, multimedia, and intertextual practices with strands from Orientalism, colonialism, and artwork by Nalo Hopkinson and catches the reader's attention.
In Chapter One, Bacchilega zooms in on the questions "What is adaptation?" and "How do we respond to adaptations?" (31-32). Drawing on Donald Haase, she clarifies for the reader that adaptation must be understood as a practice that weaves multiple texts with one another not only intertextually but also hypertextually. Since a fairy tale circulates as a text that already exists in various versions, there is no "original" or single hypotext. On this basis, Bacchilega uses an intertextual approach in her exploration of three different fairy-tale retellings in the form of short stories, poetry, and short film: Nalo Hopkinson's Skin Folk, Emma Donoghue's Kissing the Witch, and Dan Taulapapa McMullin's intermedial Sinalela (Cinderella) narratives. Bacchilega focuses on the adaptive strategy of relocation, which she identifies as politicized remappings of texts, genres, and knowledge that have become normative in cultural popular memory. By demonstrating how Hopkinson, Donoghue, and McMullin adapt the fairy tale to different social projects, Bacchilega validates what she terms "the fairy-tale web" as a methodological field that can enable the critical decentering of the European literary fairy-tale tradition.
The second chapter looks at the representations of books, the act of reading, and the gendered child in the fairy-tale films of Disney's Enchanted, Guillermo del Toro's Pan's Labyrinth, Catherine Breillat's Bluebeard, and Pil-Sung Yim's Hansel and Gretel. In this carefully argued chapter, Bacchilega suggests that Enchanted reaffirms the romance-and-magic formula as a core ingredient for wish fulfillment and success in our consumer-driven society. The Disney movie thus is at odds with the other films, which invoke the fairy-tale genre to confront social trauma instead. Referencing blogs, online interviews, responses of fan communities, and offering original readings of the films, Bacchilega develops strong arguments and convincingly shows how Del Torro, Breillat, and Pil-Sung Yim decommodify magic and critique the use of commodified fairy-tales in their films.
In Chapter Three, Bacchilega revisits the big-budget films Enchanted and Pan's Labyrinth but also discusses two independent films that bring different investments to the fairy-tale remix: Year of the Fish (Dir. David Kaplan) and Dancehall Queen (Dir. Rick Elgood and Don Letts). The chapter investigates the choices and effects of mixing fairy tales with other narrative genres, thereby foregrounding the topic of generic complexity in fairy-tale films. Bacchilega's analysis is framed by the overarching questions of how mixing genres and worlds create different effects of reality and of how generic remixes hybridize and creolize folk and fairy tales on the screen. Further, the author elucidates the problems associated with genrification and reminds the reader that the genre of what we call "fairy-tale film" is contested territory.
Aspects of (re)translation and transformative strategies of several modern retellings of The Arabian Nights are at the heart of the fourth chapter. Bacchilega'sinsightful discussion juxtaposes translation as adaptation and adaptation as translation, focusing on ways in which adaptations of The Arabian Nights contest the vilification of Arabs (or not) and the subordination of exoticized wonder to fairy-tale hegemony. She goes beyond analyzing mainstream North American retellings such as an episode of ABC's television series Once Upon A Time, Bill Willingham's comic book series Fables, and Mary Zimmerman's play The Arabian Nights, by tying them skillfully to the politics in a post-9/11 world and contemporary struggles in the Middle East.
The book closes with an epilogue tracing the concept of wonder brought about by transformative processes that inhabit fairy tales. Bacchilega uses the example of the Grimms' "The Golden Key" and underlines the tale's metanarrative shift to illuminate how the poetics of wonder affect listeners, readers, translators, and storytellers. After suggesting that more research needs to be done about wonder in today's fairy tales, she urges fairy-tale scholars to intensify our attention to the significance of orality and epistemologies in multimedia fairy-tale traditions. Especially thought-provoking are her final pages concerning the need to decolonize the field of fairy-tale studies and answer the question of "how we conceptualize the genre's history in relation to a politics of inequality" (196). Bacchilega critically engages with Ruth B. Bottigheimer's Fairy Tales: A New History, arguing that Bottigheimer's exclusively book-centered approach to the genre "limits our view of fairy tales as cultural practices in the past as in the present" (201).
This is not light, casual reading but a well-researched study principally geared towards an academic readership. The author incorporates numerous colorful graphics and illustrations to make her arguments more vivid. Each chapter can stand alone, but read together they offer compelling testimony to Bacchilega's sheer range of expertise and analytical insight. Fairy Tales Transformed? is a model of scholarship highly recommended to anyone interested in fairy-tale studies and modern fairy-tale adaptations.
Sensing the Past: Hollywood Stars and Historical Visions. By Jim Cullen. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Pp. x + 252, acknowledgements, notes, index.
Outside of a few prominent names—ones that often appear above the title—a director is not a movie's main attraction. The Hollywood moguls knew this. Rather than create the director system, they created the star system. In Sensing the Past, Jim Cullen proposes an alternative to auteur theory for American culture scholars that puts actors first. Instead of approaching film through genres, periods, or directors, Cullen analyzes movie stars—six specifically—as bastions and purveyors of American historical worldview. Cullen wants to take actors seriously, specifically prominent leading men and women who choose historical roles over careers that span decades. For the book's central question, Cullen asks, "Could it make sense to think of actors as historians? That people, in the process of doing a job whose primary focus was not thinking in terms of an interpretation of the past, were nevertheless performing one? And that in doing so, repeatedly over the course of a career they would articulate an interpretive version of American history as a whole?" (3-4). Cullen seeks to prove the affirmative by sifting through actors' corpuses to discern overarching historical master narratives at play in their work. Regardless of whether these master narratives are true or false, Cullen argues, actors portray "mythic truths that bear some relationship to fact, and to a shared collective memory" (11). It is these "mythic truths" and this "shared collective memory" that Cullen wants historians to take more seriously.
Cullen's argument addresses an actor's repeated choice of script rather than individual, momentary acting choices. His larger purpose here is to evaluate how the production of history emerges outside of the academy. In this framework, movie stars are only a beginning, but a useful beginning, because the choices they make over a career are explicit and public. For example, in Cullen's estimation, John Wayne "repeatedly portrayed tortured souls who do dirty work, and yet in the process of doing so create or preserve a life of decency for others, even if they cannot cross over into the promised land themselves" (9). In Cullen's view, this is not a popular but typecast player settling into familiar characters in comfortable genres. This is a declaration by John Wayne about the world John Wayne and the rest of us inhabit. In the John Wayne example alone, Cullen draws connections to Moses, Frederick Jackson Turner, James Fenimore Cooper, and Mary Rowlandson. It is these career-long patterns that Cullen sees as statements about American history. Actors show "what they understand about the world that preceded them," and by doing so "dramatize the consequences of accepting or rejecting those lessons in their master narratives of American history" (16). In this sense, movie stars are historians because they project for mass audiences these discernible historical master narratives.
With this premise in mind, Cullen offers six case studies of prominent twentieth century actors, linking each with a U.S. history master narrative and a prominent intellectual or public figure. In "Tending to the Flock: Clint Eastwood, Ambivalent Wanderer," Cullen connects Clint Eastwood to Thomas Jefferson and Jeffersonian democracy, proposing the master narrative of "U.S. history as a struggle over—and for—small communities" (17). In "Shooting Star: Daniel Day-Lewis and the Persistent Significance of the Frontier in American History," Cullen links Day-Lewis to Frederick Jackson Turner and the frontier thesis, advancing the master narrative of "U.S. history as the rise and fall of rugged individualists" (53). In "Equal Work: The Mystique of Meryl Streep," Cullen ties Streep to Betty Friedan and second-wave feminism, seeing the master narrative of "U.S. history as a journey for women from private to public" (89). In "Rising Sons: Denzel Washington, Affirmative Actor," Cullen relates Washington to Malcolm X, putting forward the master narrative of "U.S. history as an intergenerational family drama" (121). In "Team Player: Tom Hanks, Company Man," Cullen associates Hank's with Abraham Lincoln, observing the master narrative of "U.S. history as a saga of collective enterprises." And in "The Brave One: Jodie Foster, (American) Loner," Cullen intentionally has Foster stand alone, suggesting the master narrative of "U.S. history as a pilgrim's progress" (179).
Daniel Day-Lewis stars in Cullen's strongest chapter—it is no surprise that his conception of the book project began here. I suspect that Cullen set out to write all of his chapters in the Day-Lewis mode, only to find that most actors do not have such a clear, sequential corpus. Cullen chooses to address Day-Lewis's filmography by the chronology of setting, differentiating this chapter from the others, where he ordinarily addresses films by order of production. Day-Lewis has indeed shown a commitment to portraying characters on the many American frontiers—an interesting choice for a British actor with Irish citizenship. By examining The Crucible (1996), The Last of the Mohicans (1992), of New York (2002), The Age of Innocence (1993), and There Will Be Blood (2007), among others, Cullen shows how Day-Lewis's filmography corresponds to Frederick Jackson Turner's conception of the "frontier" as the key factor in American development, whether that frontier was in seventeenth century New England, eighteenth century upstate New York, nineteenth century Manhattan, or early twentieth century California.
The strength of this book is Cullen's devoted attention to actors and how they can democratize our conception of history. Although academics give directors the credit, American audiences attend movies to see the stars. At the very least, Cullen's case studies prove actors show remarkable consistency with their script choices over the span of a career. Cullen drops intriguing tidbits in his many meditations on individual movies, and it becomes clear that he has been considering the relationship between modern American culture and pivotal American figures and texts for many years. The book will prove valuable to scholars from a variety of disciplines. Those coming from a historical background will take away insights on the analysis of film; those coming from film will be exposed to pivotal American figures and texts and their connections to actors and scripts. Some may reject Cullen's premise outright—that actors can embody a sense of history and perform their understanding of it beyond the machinations of directors, scriptwriters, editors, etc. But for those intrigued by his approach, Cullen has left acres of terrain available for future research.
Using the metaphor of brain scans, Cullen concludes that "these formations are part of much larger neurological operations that take place unseen and otherwise undetected inside the heads of these artists—electric signals that comprise a larger enterprise we call acting" (213). He believes the historical patterns pulled from these actors oeuvres are the same patterns we enact in our daily lives, and it is for this reason that he calls on professional historians to begin to acknowledge the production of history by alternative sources. At its heart, Cullen's method is a more democratic and populist approach to American history, one that allows for history to be interpreted, performed, and taught by people outside of the history establishment.
Sensing the Past is about more than film. Movies are an (enjoyable) means to an end. By opening the production of history to a broader segment of the population, Cullen shows how Americans from different backgrounds can project a wide variety of historical master narratives. It takes courage for a professional historian to admit that the most important "historians" may not be members of the American Historical Association. As Cullen puts it, "what actors do comes closer than what historians do to capturing the ways ordinary people actually think and feel about the past" (11). We are all, unconsciously, historians. Those who grace the silver screen dramatically expose the many writers, the many messages, and the many understandings of American history.
David J. Puglia
Daniel, Miller. Stuff. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2010. Pp. vi + 169, notes, index.
Daniel Miller's Stuff is a call to anthropologists and the everyday man alike to open their eyes and to look closely at the "stuff" that has piled up and disappeared around them. Throughout his chapters on clothing, houses, media and mobile phones, and matters of life and death, Miller tries to get us to see the stuff around us for the agency and influence it has, not just over us, but over culture as well. Why does stuff matter to Miller? Stuff creates us in the first place, he claims, and in today's globalizing, modernizing world, where material goods are a source of cross-cultural connection, it is the particular use, meanings, and relationships between an individual and stuff that ultimately keeps cultural diversity alive.
In his first chapter on "Why Clothing is Not Superficial," Miller sets out to prove that anthropology and its role in mapping out the particulars of humanity has not been reduced by modernity, the capitalist market, and the material homogenization across the globe as some scholars feared. Through examples from India, England, and Trinidad, Miller highlights the layers of meaning behind clothing, emphasizing that clothing is not just a three-dimensional means of style or superficial representation. Material stuff isn't important to us just because of its functionalism. If we made things, bought things and owned things just because of their functional qualities, then humans would be rather homogenous in their use of things, with variation occurring only across an environmental spectrum, claims Miller. Rather, clothing carries with it the feelings and emotions of the person it covers, along with their societal experiences: all the particulars that anthropologists identify among today's mass-produced and widely-distributed t-shirts and blue jeans.
The meat of Stuff that ties all Miller's anecdotes and case studies together is his chapter on "Theories of Things," where Miller looks through past theories in anthropology and sociology in search of a theory of stuff that doesn't reduce it to material representations of social relations. In this chapter, Miller takes the reader on a trek from the base of a mountain—where he introduces his own early attempts at theorizing about stuff based upon the structuralist ideas of Lévi-Strauss—up the cliffs to a Marxist perspective centered around self-alienation and oppression under the power of stuff, where every object we create develops its own interests, gains agency, and slowly defines who we are as humans. Miller continues the climb up to Hegel's philosophical interpretation of objectification, the order of the world and the constitution of persons, aligning with the notion that an object born out of a desire ultimately slips out of the ties that once connected it to its creator, taking on a life of its own. Miller finally comes down the other side of the mountain and identifies the reality of these theories and their wider consequences.
Throughout the course of his ethnographic examples and his personal histories, it becomes clear that Miller believes objects have agency, suggesting that objects are powerful in that they determine our actions so much so that we are blind to their ability to do so. Ultimately, theless we see material objects in our space, the more power they assume over us, as they disappear into our habitus, making us unconsciously aware of what is appropriate and what is not within their environment, just as a large table in the middle of a room indicates that we are able to eat there.
As Miller puts it, these theories of objects glorify the object, which seems appropriate since, according to Miller, culture comes from the stuff that has slowly and unconsciously ingrained itself in our lives and our spaces. Since Malinowski first wrote Argonauts of the Western Pacific, we have been aware of the importance of things, as seen in the continuous cycle of gift giving. The circulation of things is what creates society. Over the course of modernization, humanity has become synonymous with materiality. How much stuff and what kind of stuff one has defines one as a person. As humans, we are constantly grappling with the binary opposites of materiality: whether we are trying to maintain a materialistic life, or whether we are trying to avoid one. In either sense, the stuff seems to have the power, and it definitely has agency, for after all, we cannot do whatever we damn well please with things that will refuse to grow in shady spots, with items that fall off of a shelf and break, and with stuff on the floor that makes us trip (94).
In the chapter "Houses: Accommodating Theory," the reader becomes aware of how much agency we give to our houses as well. We admit to ourselves that there is life within the walls of houses. It is an independent and autonomous entity as Miller points out, just as it is a representation of ourselves. Do we have control over this representation in the way in which we choose to organize and restructure the space? Is it insteadthe structure and function of the objects within the home that assert agency over how we decorate and organize the space, within the parameters that the walls allow, and within the design of the original construction? Do objects define culture, or are they simply an influence over the direction in which culture develops? While Miller offers no definitive answers to these questions, Stuff forces us to consider them.
In his last chapter, "Matter of Life and Death," Miller argues that objects do define us and they do represent us, as can be seen so clearly when someone dies, and we are left with objects or relics that embody the deceased: the objects that family members know not to toss, but choose to keep and to protect. Whether or not it is we who give agency to the objects that come to bear our memories, these objects do have agency, and we start giving agency to stuff at a very early age. One begins in life with unique relationships to powerful "stuff" that varies from culture to culture and person to person. There are the universals such as homes, clothing, and life and death, but the particulars of these universals are unique to each culture. Ultimately, what makes the particulars of stuff so ubiquitous and so overlooked cross-culturally inspires Miller to write an engaging and intriguing mixed ethnography. Stuff forces us to think about the hold that objects have over us, our relationships—whether healthy or unhealthy—with the things that build up in our homes, why we hold on to some things and not others, and why some things seem to take on a life of their own.
Latter-day Lore: Mormon Folklore Studies. Edited by Eric A. Eliason and Tom Mould. Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press. 2013. Pp. xi + 591, introduction, notes, bibliography, contributors, sources of previously published chapters, index.
Austin and Alta Fife's Saints of Sage and Saddle, published in 1956, is still seen by most scholars as the most comprehensive treatment of Mormon folklore, However, Latter-Day Lore: Mormon Folklore Studies stands firmly as a long-needed update to the Fife's seminal work, offering a great retrospective of where Mormon folklore scholarship has been, and pointing to some promising places it can go next. Given such breadth,Latter-day Lore offers a fairly comprehensive—but by no means exhaustive—collection of Mormon folklore, covering a wide breadth of topics, genres, and themes. If a topic is not included in the collection, chances are it can be found in the "notes" or "bibliography" sections in the back. As such, it provides a great "where have we been?" of Mormon folklore scholarship and will surely take its place next to the Fife's work as a cornerstone of Mormon folklore.
The book is divided into six sections covering the Mormon Cultural Region (MCR), customs and traditions, supernatural folklore, Mormon history, humor, and, finally, international Mormon folklore. Each section opens with an introduction written by the editors and filled with a collection of previously published articles and chapters from prominent scholars of Mormon Folklore. The organization may seem arbitrary since it mixes genre, theme, topic, and geography as organizing principles; however, the introductions ground each section in Mormon history even as it echoes the history of Mormon folkloristics. The sections are then comprised of chapters of previously published work from prominent and emerging scholars famous in and outside of Mormon folklore. The section introductions provide concise historical overviews that help contextualize the succeeding chapter within Mormon history and folkloristics. This is a great strength of the collection and could have been even more emphasized. One way to do this would have been to incorporate original publication dates of the chapters more prominently. Because Latter-day Lore does want to show where the scholarship has been, foregrounding the original publication dates would help emphasize the historical contexts of each article within Mormon folkloristics. In addition to addressing the history of Mormon folkloristics, the section introductions also discuss key tensions within Mormonism and Mormon folkoristics. Some of these tensions are at the heart of chapters, such as the tension between superstition and belief, the sacred and the supernatural, and belief and skepticism. Other tensions are explored more within and between articles, such as the tensions between official doctrine and vernacular traditions, history and historical memory, and humor and social anxieties. In exploring these tensions, Eliason and Mould's joint editorship, as well as contributions from "Mormons of various levels of belief and commitment and members of other faiths or no particular faith" (19) help Latter-Day Lore benefit from both insider and outsider perspectives. Whatever their affiliation, the chapters included in Latter-day Lore mix some compassion with their insightful analysis of Mormon culture in both etic and emic approaches.
Perhaps no aspect of Mormon folklore is better known, more iconic, and more lamented for being overemphasized, than Three Nephite legends. Inevitably but appropriately, Eliason and Mould begin by addressing these legends. Because the collection is dedicated to William A. "Bert" Wilson, it is fitting to begin with the Three Nephites—as Wilson did—and encourage scholarship to move beyond the traditional borders of Mormon folkloristics: Utah, rural populations, America, the supernatural, etc—as Wilson also did. Echoing Wilson's call for where Mormon folklore research should go can be seen as a critique of Mormon folkloristics, since it suggests that folklorists have yet to follow through with Wilson's 1989 call to focus more on Mormon's daily lives rather than the fantastic and supernatural. David A. Allred's chapter on "Early Mormon 'Magic,'" included in "The Sacred and the Supernatural" section is one answer to Wilson's call. He reminds us that rather than arguing repeatedly for how scholarship should proceed, someone needs to actually proceed down those avenues. Latter-day Lore reveals this weakness even as it points it out. While the supernatural is still a feature of Mormon folklore, chapters on jokes, folk songs, creative dating, and missionary stories all represent work that focuses on the regular lives of Mormons.
Beyond the focus in Mormon folklore on the supernatural, the editors suggest areas remain that are still under-represented in scholarship, such as gender, race, and international cultures, yet there are indications that scholarship is beginning to look at these issues. For instance, they bring up the lack of feminist approaches or feminist scholarship in Mormon folkloristics. In this work, Kristi Bell Young's "Now that I've Kissed the Ground You Walk On: A Look at Gender in Creative Date Invitations," and Margaret K. Brady's "Transformations of Power: Mormon Women's Visionary Narratives," both look at gender and, to some degree, gender power structures in Mormonism. While there is still plenty of room for development and more focused attention, this collection provides evidence that many of these areas, including gender and feminism, which, while they have not received the attention they deserve, have not been completely ignored.
Despite being a collection of previously published work, there is much gained from combining these excellent and wide-ranging chapters. For instance, in one chapter William A. Wilson discusses the three Nephites giving warnings and experiences that encourage Mormons to "obey the commandments," and faithfully perform their "genealogical research, home teaching, missionary work" among other duties. Three chapters later Susan Peterson describes how folklore of the Apocalypse encourages saints to do the exact same things. While this may not be surprising, what emerges from the many articles are those concerns and daily experiences that lay at the heart of what it means to be Mormon. In this way, the collation of all these studies accomplishes what none of them could alone as they explore the themes and tensions within Mormon culture.
Besides being a condensed roadmap of where Mormon folklore scholarship has been, the various sections in Latter-day Lore will surely appeal to scholars and non-scholars, Mormons and non-Mormons. The section on "Pioneers, Heroes, and the Historical Imagination" is framed as an exploration of violence that could interest not just folklorists and Mormon scholars, but also scholars of the West in general. The sections on humor could be of interest to a wide-range of folklorists… as well as anyone looking for a good polygamy joke.
The final section, "Beyond Deseret," points towards possible futures for Mormon folklore scholarship, as international as the church has become. Eliason and Mould's focus on Pioneer Day celebrations to discuss local repetition and variations seen throughout America and internationally. At first it seems an odd choice to use a distinctive tradition of the MCR to discuss the church "beyond Deseret" , but as the discussion moves from Utah to California, Rhode Island, Denmark, Germany, South Africa, and finally Laie where "Laie Day" celebrates both Mormonism and Polynesian heritage. This example thus provides a good case study for how internationally-themed studies of Mormonism might examine how folkways adapt to different contexts. The editors also point out that folklorists can still study international folklore in the MCR among Latin-American, Asian-American, and African-American immigrant populations.
Latter-day Lore uncovers the gaps in the scholarship even as it affirms the continued richness and relevance of the topics and themes that have already been well-explored. In this way it imagines, and even lays the groundwork for, a bright future for Mormon folklore studies.