THE PROPER BOOK OF SEXUAL FOLKLORE by Tristram Potter Coffin

THE PROPER BOOK OF SEXUAL FOLKLORE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A more decorous catalogue is hard to imagine: Coffin himself attests to the inoffensive presentation of this material. The eminent folklorist uses literature (the Iliad to Zora Hurston) and songs (suggestive ballads and restored modern versions) to demonstrate the range and often religious purposes of sexual allusions in jokes, rituals, myths, etc. He refers to fertility rites and superstitions, examines types of ""dirty"" jokes, and tracks down the origins--and, frequently, the initial meanings--of trickster heroes who defy gravity and other legendary figures. He gives numerous examples of contrasting cultural attitudes--toward incest, obscenity, courtship, pregnancy--and also looks briefly at the sexual behavior of a few historical notables, finding Catherine the Great a veritable ""Madam Oversex."" As always, he has a keen eye on remnants from the past--throwing rice after a wedding ceremony; here he has a firm regard for present sensibilities as well.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1978
Publisher: Seabury