The academic study of folklore is a worldwide, interdisciplinary field spanning the humanities and the social sciences. It is very much tied to nationalism and national identity and for this reason it has often been the smaller countries that have led the way in terms of providing theory and method. There are many significant articles, mostly written by European folklorists, which remain essentially unavailable to most folklore students. Many appear in periodicals, which are not readily available, such as fabula (folktale studies) and proverbium (proverb studies). This set of volumes provides students and researchers with a comprehensive collection of articles covering the principal theoretical and methodological concepts.
Pioneering essays defining the field, including key articles from the nineteenth century (Grimm, Mannhardt, Andrew Lang, etc.)
The genres of folklore (myth, folktale, legend, folksong, proverb, riddle, superstition, children's games, etc.)
Volumes III and IV:
Theories and methods (the comparative method, the cartographic method, structuralism, Freudian and Jungian approaches, etc.). Some of these theories and methods are to be found in other disciplines, but their application to folkloristic data is unique.