In this class we will explore themes and characters in traditional storytelling and song traditions from a range of cultures, times, and places. We will also consider how such stories are portrayed in visual culture including classical carvings, folk drama, chapbooks, animation and film, and popular culture. We will look at various oral-narrative genres including myths, legends, folktales, tall tales, and ballads. We will examine narratives "said to be true" about Gods, creation, ghosts, and fairies; as well as "Once upon a time" fantasy stories and wonder tales about magic, heroes and heroines, tricksters, and monsters. We will draw on interpretive frameworks from literary theory, folkloristics, anthropology, psychoanalysis, and other scholarly disciplines to discuss the symbolic, psychological, and social implications of stories and storytelling as they relate to issues of cultural, gender, and class identity. Some attention will be given to the enactment of myths, the narration of stories, and the singing of ballads as a social- interactional events; as well as to individual raconteurs and singers, their repertoires, and styles of performance.