Journal of American Folklore, Vol. XVII., Oct.-Dec, 1904.
It is a fact not unworthy of remark that of the six articles in this number only three are of the type which we are accustomed to see in Folklore. These all deal with folk-tales, one French- Canadian, one of the Diguenos (it might have been well to say who they are), and the third, a comparative article on points of resemblance between an ancient Egyptian and Amerindian folk- tales.
Of the remainder, one — a discussion by Dr. Boas of some traits of primitive culture — is of a type which might well be commoner on this side the water. I may be doing the Folklore Society an injustice, but I think it can hardly be maintained that the work of synthesis or even of criticism keeps pace with the work of collection. Among American folklorists collections, though they are not of course to be despised, stand on a distinctly lower plane than analytic or synthetic work.
The other two articles deal respectively with Filipino drama, including native. Christian, and Mohammedan religious, and modern seditious plays ; and with proverbs in the making. It is, however, difficult to see how such a pronouncement as " the anatomical characters of the races have in all their main points remained constant " can be classed as a proverb, the very essence of the proverb being homeliness and wit.
The classified records of Amerindian and Negro folklore are a very useful feature of this excellent periodical, and the Folklore Society would do well to undertake a similar work for British dependencies. Provided the classification is accurate, no work is more useful; unfortunately the only attempt at bibliography in Europe — the Centralblatt, I do not include the International Catalogue of Science and Literature as being far too incomplete — is marked by extraordinary inaccuracy. Another feature of the J.A.F.L. which might well be imitated is the space devoted to notices, practically folklore news of the day.
N. W. Thomas.
Books for Review should be addressed to The Editor of Folk-Lore,
c/o David Nutt, 57-59 Long Acre, London.