All the World's Reward

Folktales Told by Five Scandinavian Storytellers

Reimund Kvideland and Henning K. Sehmsdorf

  • Published: July 2015
  • Subject Listing: Literature
  • Bibliographic information: 344 pp., 37 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

All the World's Reward presents ninety-eight tales from Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Swedish-speaking Finland, and Iceland. Each area is represented by the complete recorded repertoire of a single storyteller. Such a focus helps place the stories in the context of the communities in which they were performed and also reveals how individual folk artists used the medium of oral literature to make statements about their lives and their world. Some preferred jocular stories and others wonder tales; some performed mostly for adults, others for children; some used storytelling to criticize society, and others spun wish fulfillment tales to find relief from a harsh reality.

For the most part collected a century ago, the stories were gleaned from archives and printed sources; the Icelandic repertoire was collected on audiotape in the 1960s. Each repertoire was selected by a noted folklorist. Introductions to the storytellers and collectors and commentaries and references for the tales are provided. A general introduction, a comprehensive bibliography, and an index of the tales according to Aarne-Thompson's typology are also included. Period illustrations add charm to the stories.

"The work's contribution is both timely and unique and will serve as a valued source for researchers wishing to explore issues of folk narrative in northern Europe. The inclusion of female, as well as male, narrators assures the collection of usefulness in a variety of academic contexts, and the decision to include scatalogical and bawdy materials-now tame by contemporary standards-adds further interest to the collection."
-Thomas A. DuBois, University of Washington

"[This book] will reward readers interested in Scandinavian folklore with beautifully presented texts, well-written introductions to the storytellers, and useful discussions of the historical context for folktale scholarship in Scandinavia."
-Journal of Folklore Research