New Books Network

Ray Cashman

Packy Jim

Folklore and Worldview on the Irish Border

University of Wisconsin Press 2016

New Books in AnthropologyNew Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in British StudiesNew Books in FolkloreNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network January 17, 2018 Timothy Thurston

How do individuals on national or societal peripheries make use of tradition and to what ends? How can narratives discursively construct a complex worldview?...

How do individuals on national or societal peripheries make use of tradition and to what ends? How can narratives discursively construct a complex worldview? These are some of the questions Ray Cashman seeks to answer in his new book Packy Jim: Folklore and Worldview on the Irish Border (University of Wisconsin Press, 2016). Focusing on the singular character of Packy Jim McGrath and the narratives that feature in his repertoire—from personal experience narratives to stories about the supernatural—we are taken into a lifeworld in which Packy Jim struggles with and develops his own answer to questions of authority, power, sacrifice, place, belief, and more, in a world of limited good. As many people told Cashman during his fieldwork (though they mean something slightly different), “If you want real folklore, Packy Jim is your man.”