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Michael Surbrook -- Gaming and Watching American Folktales

  • Broadcast in Entertainment
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This week we'll be talking with Michael Surbrook about the American Folkhero and his upcoming game book Folk Hero and about the recent trend of Folk Tale influenced TV Shows.

Folk Hero examines an assortment of classic American folklore and tall tales archetypes in detail. It covers the first two centuries of America's existence, from 1700 to 1900. Divided into four broad eras (the Colonial Era, the Tall Tales Era, the Wild West Era, and the Post-War Era), each era presents a number of archetypes common to the time period in question. For example, the Colonial Era has the Pirate, the Backwoodsman, the River-Boat Man, and so on. The Tall Tales Era has the Occupational Hero and the Lumberjack (among others), the Wild West Era gives us Cowboys, Shootists, Scouts, Lawmen, and more. The Post-War Era has National Icons, Inventors, and others.

Archetypes presented in the book include: Blackbeard, Paul Bunyan, Billy the Kid, and Nikolai Tesla.

The book also includes descriptions of people who were associated with the archetype in question. For example,  the Blackbeard section includes Calico Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny, Mary Read, Major Stede Bonnet, and others. Paul Bunyan includes Babe the Blue Ox, Cal Bunyan, Tony Beaver, and a a number of other people.

Also included are a brief listing of common cowboy terms, the lyrics to songs, quotes, historical notes, and other such material.