Wisdom in Art, Culture, Folklore, History, Literature and Mass Media
2. “The Proof of the Proverb Is in the Probing” Alan Dundes as Pioneering Paremiologist 45
There is no doubt that Alan Dundes (1934–2005) was one of the giants of international folkloristics whose voluminous publications and lectures delivered around the world touched thousands of scholars and students of folklore. In addi- tion, he introduced over twenty thousand eager students to folklore studies in his more than four decades of teaching at the University of California at Berkeley. Many of them were so intrigued by this popular “Pied Piper of Folklore” that they earned their M.A. or Ph.D. degrees in folklore either at Berkeley or other universities, the result being that there are “Dundes students” practicing the art of folklore studies at universities or in the public sector throughout the United States and the rest of the world. Under his directorship the Folklore Program at Berkeley became internationally known as the ideal place to pursue serious folklore stud- ies, with the Berkeley Folklore Archives serving as a model for gathering various folklore materials from modern oral and written sources. Little wonder that many folklorists travelled to Berkeley to spend time with the master teacher and scholar, who always gave freely of his time and expertise to help others with their impor- tant work. While Alan Dundes was obviously busy with his own projects, he always had the time to welcome visitors from near and far, thereby practicing what he preached throughout his productive and fruitful life, namely that folkloristics is the key to a better understanding of the human condition and that its practitioners should conduct...
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