"According to the preface, this impressive multivolume work aims to survey the world's folklore heritages in a way that emphasizes the international nature of folklore in general....while placing folklore within particular cultural milieus. Thirty-nine essays cover the technical language of folklore scholarship and serve as a kind of preface to the more than 200 main entries. These are arranged geographically by continent and region. A standardized protocol describes the individual groups. This format and strategic geographical arrangement allow readers to compare groups that are likely to come into contact with each other. Many of the authors are important scholars in the field. The signed articles conclude with bibliographies, and each volume ends with a cumulative index to all four volumes. This set pulls together disparate materials that will be useful for undergraduates writing on specific ethnic groups or advanced scholars seeking to map global connections. Recommended. College and university libraries supporting lower-division undergraduates through faculty/researchers."
"Each volume includes maps and illustrations as well as a list of all entries and a complete subject index for the entire set. Contributed by more than 200 specialists, the scholarly essays make up bibliographical references and cover the important folklore of the specific society represented, including its geographical setting, sociocultural features, ethnohistorical information, belief system, sports and games, artistic expression, and the effects of modernization and globalization....A valuable reference work for students and general readers seeking an understanding of the cultural heritage of the various societies of the world."
"Altogether, this encyclopedia represents a major new step forward for folklore studies. It clearly belongs in every collection aiming to give serious treatment to world cultures."
"An outstanding feature of the encyclopedia is that it can claim to be truly representative of world folklore. More often than not, reference works that aim to cover world folklore in fact give the lions share of attention to the cultures of the West, but Clements does not give us a lineup of the usual suspects....The encyclopedia is exceptionally well designed. Well-chosen illustrations and maps and plenty of white space on each page make reading a pleasure. Most important for a reference work, the reference apparatus is comprehensive, detailed, and accurate. This is a very usable encyclopediasomething that is not always true of large reference works....In short, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Folklore and Folklife is a triumph. This is a work to browse in for hours; even a veteran folklorist will discover much that is surprising and new about world folklore in these pages. It is practical to use, a joy to peruse, and a work that all folklorists can be proud of."
"Any attempt to gather together folklores and customs from around the world is, to say the least, an extraordinarily ambitious project. The Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Folklore and Folklife tackles the challenge admirably."
"Starred Review This set is a cohesive and organized examination of folklore and folk life around the globe....This resource proved to be addictive. What began as a simple perusal became an absorbing read. Readers will be both fascinated by the unusual, such as the dicing game used to distribute a dead person's possessions, and cognizant of the familiar, in proverbs and songs that sound recognizable. Highly Recommended."
"The complex world of folklore in all its variegated guises as manifested around the world--in music, oral traditions, dance, foodways, religion, sports and games, arts, architecture, and crafts--is richly covered in this monumental set. Each of the articles attempts to demonstrate these folkways in the culture under discussion. The whole is well written and brings a tremendous amount of information together in a much-needed format....This outstanding encyclopedia is recommended for scholars and researchers, both new and old, and should be in academic and large public libraries."
"This material provides a wonderful opportunity to show students what they have in common with others and what makes each culture different."
"Clements, with Thomas A. Green as advisory editor, have selected and edited an impressive guide to the world's folklife and folklore, with each of the four volumes devoted to different continents. Volume 1 is on Africa, Australia and Oceania; Southeast Asia, India, Central and East Asia, and the Middle East are in v.2; Europe is found in v.3; and North and South America are the subject of v.4. In addition, v.1 contains a useful series of two- or three-page essays on 39 issues of concern to the field, including antiquarianism, archives, diffusion, gender, hero, hybridity, nativism, race, and trickster. The entries are each devoted to either a people or a specific place, with discussion of topics that can include geography and history, stories, tales, historic tradition, social structure, beliefs, religions, poetry, proverbs, music, dance, food, and the differences found between urban and rural areas. Many B&W photos are included throughout."
"William M. Clements edits The Greenwood Encyclopedia of World Folklore and Folklife, a hefty four-volume reference college collections will welcome as a definitive, thorough guide to world cultural diversity....An outstanding collection, World Folklore and Folklife is recommended as a pick for any library holding seeking reference material on the topic - even if only one representative collection were considered."
"The aim, as stated in the preface, is to examine folklore within the broad contexts of cultural areas and the more narrow contexts of specific societies. The scope and arrangement of the volumes fulfill this intention....While this work will not provide comprehensive treatment of folklore, it will certainly work well in combination with other sources in the field. It has a combination of clear writing and scholarly intent that will serve well as an entry point for research in public and undergraduate libraries."