A collection of folktales from Iraq, dating from the 1930s, found in the archives of the famous English Lady E. S. Drower (1879–1972), who was novelist, folklorist, specialist on the Mandaeans, and writer of travel accounts. New tales edited by Jorunn Buckley form a second volume of Drower’s Folktales. The stories—carrying recognizable Near Eastern folk-tale features—feature monsters and heroes, maidens and fairies and they give a vivid picture of a now extinct oral folktale tradition. This Gorgias Press edition includes previously unpublished tales in addition to those of the 1931 edition.
6 x 9
These folktales from Iraq were collected by Lady E. S. Drower (1879–1972), the famous English intellectual, author of novels and travel accounts, and one of the world’s foremost specialists on the Mandaeans of Iraq and Iran. During her decades in Iraq, where her husband was an adviser to the government after the First World War, Lady Drower traveled about and became interested in people such as the Mandaeans, the Yezidis, the Iraqi Jews, and others. In 1931, her Folk-Tales of Iraq was published with Oxford University Press. For many decades, a typed manuscript of ca. 24 other tales lay idle among Drower’s papers. In a letter to the Secretary of Clarendon Press, Oxford, May 4, 1939, she mentions the collection and her wish to have it published, but without luck. World War II intervened, and afterwards, other editing and publishing tasks demanded Lady Drower’s time. Most of these tales are now edited and presented to the public for the first time. Various persons in Iraq—of both sexes, from high and low strata of society and from different ethnic and religious groups—related the stories (in various languages and dialects) to Drower. They deal with monsters, heroes, fairies, sultans, peasants, fishermen, and trades-people; they carry moral teachings and feature speaking animals, and some convey surprisingly subversive messages about gender relations and social power structures. A few of the tales may be known in other versions from The Thousand and One Nights. The Gorgias Press edition includes the 1931 tales as well as the previously unpublished tales.