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Title: Legends
Contributor(s): Ryan, John S  (author)
Publication Date: 1993
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Abstract: While often confused in contemporary usage on the one hand with the more conscience-shaping, or even cosmographic, term 'myth' of Aboriginal religion, and on the other with the more simple yarn or tale, 'legend' is still best defined as it was in the late nineteenth century by The New English Dictionary as 'an unauthentic or non-historical story, especially one handed down by tradition from early times and popularly regarded as historical'. As all societies had 'legendary periods', so did Australia have a social phase preceding more universal literacy. As in other (former colonial) territories in the twentieth century, in Australia the term 'legend' has been used more loosely for various stories about colourful or public people and their activities, in a way which may be said to be exaggerated or larger than life, and not necessarily completely credible, as well as being outside the accepted formal records of history, biography, or newspaper accounts. Legends of the settler and colonial periods tend to grow and to change, carrying into the present the (folk) traditions and perceptions of the past; they are updated or become less significant according to the evolving patterns of national life.
Publication Type: Entry In Reference Work
Source of Publication: The Oxford Companion to Australian Folklore, p. 240-242
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Place of Publication: Australia
ISBN: 0195530578
Field of Research (FOR): 160104 Social and Cultural Anthropology
200405 Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)
209999 Language, Communication and Culture not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 950304 Conserving Intangible Cultural Heritage
970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing
950503 Understanding Australia's Past
HERDC Category Description: N Entry In Reference Work
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