220 pages, 6 x 9
20 b&w photographs
Stories of Our Lives
Memory, History, Narrative
Utah State University Press
In Stories of Our Lives Frank de Caro demonstrates the value of personal narratives in enlightening our lives and our world. We all live with legends, family sagas, and anecdotes that shape our selves and give meaning to our recollections. Featuring an array of colorful stories from de Caro’s personal life and years of field research as a folklorist, the book is part memoir and part exploration of how the stories we tell, listen to, and learn play an integral role in shaping our sense of self.
De Caro’s narrative includes stories within the story: among them a near-mythic capture of his golden-haired grandmother by Plains Indians, a quintessential Italian rags-to-riches grandfather, and his own experiences growing up in culturally rich 1950s New York City, living in India amid the fading glories of a former princely state, conducting field research on Day of the Dead altars in Mexico, and coming home to a battered New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Stories of Our Lives shows that our lives are interesting, and that the stories we tell—however particular to our own circumstances or trivial they may seem to others—reveal something about ourselves, our societies, our cultures, and our larger human existence.
'Frank de Caro's Stories of Our Lives will encourage readers to think personally, to reflect on their own narratives and to link these to the broader realm of narratives. . . . Frank takes the reader on the stepping-stones of his memory, to the narratives that knit together his view of the world.'
—Journal of Folklore Research
'One is left with an appreciation for the approach, a wish that more people could see the shaping influences of stories in their lives the way de Caro has.'
'This book . . . gives us the rare opportunity to learn more about the life of one of our own. Additionally, we are given the opportunity to learn both how various cycles of stories have influenced a life and how a folklore scholar understands and interprets one of the key genres of our discipline.'
—Journal of American Folklore
Frank de Caro is a folklorist and Professor Emeritus of English at Louisiana State University. His previous books include Louisiana Sojourns: Travelers’ Tales and Literary Journeys (1998, with Rosan A. Jordan), which received the Louisiana Humanities Book Award; An Anthology of American Folktales and Legends (2008); and The Folklore Muse: Poetry, Fiction, and Other Reflections by Folklorists (2008).
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