A Tree Accurst: Bobby Mcmillon and Stories of Frankie Silver (Hardback)
  • A Tree Accurst: Bobby Mcmillon and Stories of Frankie Silver (Hardback)
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A Tree Accurst: Bobby Mcmillon and Stories of Frankie Silver (Hardback)

(author)
£33.50
Hardback 264 Pages / Published: 01/10/2000
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On a wintry night in 1831, a man named Charlie Silver was murdered with an axe and his body burned in a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. His young wife, Frankie Silver, was tried and hanged for the crime. In later years people claimed that a tree growing near the ruins of the old cabin was cursed--that anyone who climbed into it would be unable to get out. Daniel Patterson uses this "accurst" tree as a metaphor for the grip the story of the murder has had on the imaginations of the local community, the wider world, and the noted Appalachian traditional singer and storyteller Bobby McMillon.

For nearly 170 years, the memory of Frankie Silver has been kept alive by a ballad and local legends and by the news accounts, fiction, plays, and other works they inspired. Weaving Bobby McMillon's personal story--how and why he became a taleteller and what this story means to him--into an investigation of the Silver murder, Patterson explores the genesis and uses of folklore and the interplay between folklore, social and personal history, law, and narrative as people and communities try to understand human character and fate.

Bobby McMillon is a furniture and hospital worker in Lenoir, North Carolina, with deep roots in Appalachia and a lifelong passion for learning and performing traditional songs and tales. He has received a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award from the state's Arts Council and also the North Carolina Folklore Society's Brown-Hudson Folklore Award.

Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 9780807825648
Number of pages: 264
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 235 x 146 x 21 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This stunning work is a carefully researched and ethically solid examination of the ways in which regional folklore functions in the cultural construction of history, law, and gender. (Barre Toelken, Utah State University)
A Nota Bene selection of "The Chronicle of Higher Education"
Patterson does a tremendous job in presenting a thorough and insightful look at the complex relationship between historical fact and the oral tradition. ("Southern Cultures")
"A Tree Accurst" is a fascinating book--one that reveals much about oral history, the transmission of folklore, and the social history of Appalachia in the nineteenth century. (Altina Waller, University of Connecticut)
By intertwining historical event and present day account, Patterson reminds us that our understanding of history is always mediated by the sources through which we receive our knowledge of it and that, conversely, the scripts we accept as historical truth influence our own self-awareness. ("North Carolina History Review")

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