Welcome to the Library Research Guide for MCL 200
This guide will introduce you to basic library resources aimed to help you research topics dealing with literary works and cultural artifacts from various national and lingistic traditions.
For more help on the basics of the research process, see the course guide for WRD111.
Digital image and descriptive data © 2000 by Cartography Associates
In 1959 the indefatigable folklorist, Stith Thompson, published his Motif Index: a classification of narrative elements in folktales, ballads, myths, fables, mediaeval romances, exempla, fabliaux, jestbooks and local legends.
In addition to the online version (see above), you will find the revised and enlarged 1989 edition of this six-volume basic thematic index in the Reference Collection on the second floor, west wing of W.T. Young Library under the call number GR67 .T52. Anyone trying to identify themes or elements in folk literature needs to use all six volumes of the Motif Index.
Volume 1 contains a general synopsis of the index which outlines the broad classifications used by Thompson, e.g. A=Mythological motifs, B=Animals, C=Tabu, and so forth. In this volume you will also find the Bibliography and key to Abbreviations used in the subsequent volumes.
Volume 6 is an alphabetically arranged subject index ranging from "Aaron's tenser (pistol)" to "Zuni".
How to go from a theme or motif to source material:
Let's suppose you want to know where to find a folkloric explanation of the biological feature, the Adam's apple.
And so on. Finally look up the author or title in InfoKat Discovery or WorldCat.org to identify the location of the book you want to consult for a fuller discussion of the motif you are pursuing.
[Thanks to the UC-Berkeley George and Mary Foster Anthropology Library for these instructions, which have been slightly modified.]