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Folk Piety/Folk Religion

(6,308 words)

Author(s): Siebald, Manfred | Krech, Volkhard | Lowenstein, Steven | Fuchs, Ottmar | Schieder, Rolf | Et al.
[German Version] I. Folk/Folk Religion – II. Religious Studies – III. Judaism – IV. Christianity – V. Islam I. Folk/Folk Religion In the English-speaking realm, the adjective “folk” marks common cultural pheonomena as expressions of a peas-¶ ant population. The superordinated term “folk-lore,” coined in 1846 by William John Thomas and popularized by the establishment of Folklore Societies (England 1878, USA 1888), in its customary, more restricted definition encompasses the pre-literary tradition, i.e. the narratives and songs…

Jackson, Mahalia

(215 words)

Author(s): Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] (Mahala; Oct 26, 1911, New Orleans, LA – Jan 27, 1972, Evergreen Park, IL), an Afro-American singer. Raised as t…

Graham, Martha

(182 words)

Author(s): Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] (May 11, 1894, Pittsburgh, PA – Apr 1, 1991, New York), an American dancer and choreographer who is considered one of the pioneers of modern dance. After the completion of her training in Los Angeles, she first appeared in reviews and on vaudeville shows, and founded the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in 1927 as well as the Dance Repertory Theatre in New York in 1930. She called for the involvement of the entire body and mind in the dramatic conception. Her more than 200 choreographies dealt with historical themes ( Frontier, 1935; Appalachian Spring, 1944), Gre…

Warren, Robert Penn

(161 words)

Author(s): Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] (Apr 24, 1905, Guthrie, KY – Sep 15, 1989, Stratton VT), American author, poet, and literary critic. His works, set primarily in the American South, center on interpersonal relationships and power struggles against the background of complex historical process. With the other members of the conservative literary group called the Fugitives, he was convinced of the need for a religious, political, and aesthetic counterpoise to a world dominated by technology and rationality. In works like his novels Night Rider (1939) and All the King’s Men (1946), which received the Pulitzer Prize, his characters ar…


(233 words)

Author(s): Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] began in the mid-1970s in New York as part of the complex, initially Afro-American and later international hip-hop movement, other expressions of which are DJing, breakdance, and graffiti. Rap (in the double sense of “utter vigorously” and “tap smartly”) is a rhythmic, mostly rhyming speech song with percussion accompaniment. It is thought to have arisen from Caribbean and African narrative traditions ( griot), from narrative Blues (Blues and religion), and from Black Power lyrics. The texts are about everyday social life of urban youth (esp…

Eliot, Thomas Stearns

(548 words)

Author(s): Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] (T.S.; Nov 26, 1888 St. Louis, LA – Jan 4, 1965 London). From a Unitarian family, Eliot became one of the pioneers of modern literature and a guiding figure of Anglo-American culture in the 20th century, (a) through his studies at Harvard (with a dissertation of the philosophical idealism of F.H. Bradley) and his sojourns at the Sorbonne and in England, where he ultimately settled in 1915, and (b) under the influence of the French symbolists (Symbolism; already evident in his first volume of poetry, Prufrock and Other Observations, 1917) and, especially, the modernis…


(3,916 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard | Sundermeier, Theo | Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] I. Greco-Roman Antiquity – II. Drama and Religion – III. Drama and the Christian Tradition I. Greco-Roman Antiquity 1. Concept The noun δρᾶμα/ dráma, derived from the verb δρᾶν ( drán, “do, act”), seldom means “action, deed” in the general sense. Especially in the tragedies of Aeschylus, the verb and noun form the antithesis of …

Hollywood and Popular Religion

(525 words)

Author(s): Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] Hollywood, situated to the northwest of the city center and first planned as an alcohol-free district in 1887, has been a district of Los Angeles since 1910. Shortly after the first films were screened (1885), the film industry was attracted to the place by its mild, sunny climate, varied scenery and plentiful labor. The filming of The C…

Dickinson, Emily Elizabeth

(164 words)

Author(s): Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] (Dec 10, 1830, Amherst, MA – May 15, 1886, ibid.) was an American poet who spent the last 30 years of her life in almost tot…

Singer, Isaac Bashevis

(175 words)

Author(s): Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] ( Jul 14, 1904, Radzymin, Poland – Jul 24, 1991, Surfside, FL). Raised as the son of a Hasidic rabbi in Poland, Singer chose not to follow in his father’s footsteps but became a writer; in 1935 he emigrated to America. His short stories, novels, and children’s books, set in Polish shtetls ( Satan in Goray

Steinbeck, John

(175 words)

Author(s): Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] (Feb 27, 1902, Salinas, CA – Dec 20, 1968, New York), American writer and journalist. His realistic novels and short stories, mostly set in California, are characterized by incisive social criticism. His characters are caught between the poles of ethical idealism and materialism ( The Pearl, 1947) and between biological or social determinism and free will ( East of Eden, 1952). He focused repeatedly on the lives of losers – as in Of Mice and Men (1937) and Cannery R…

Sterne, Laurence

(166 words)

Author(s): Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] (Nov 24, 1713, Clonmel, Ireland – Mar 18, 1768, London), novelist and Anglican clergyman. Initially he published sermons and pamphlets. After his A Political Romance (1759), a satire on church politics that was immediately banned, the first two volumes of Tristra…


(445 words)

Author(s): Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] The term festivals (Ger. Festspiele) embraces various cultural works and events. 1. Plays devoted to historical, political, or religious subjects were written and produced for special occasions. This genre, which appeared in the late 15th century, flourished in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. As an essential element of a court or national feast and as a staged self-reflexion, the festival served an apologetic or propagandistic function and was intended to establish or consolidate a group…

Saint Denis, Ruth

(146 words)

Author(s): Siebald, Manfred
[German Version] (Jan 20, 1879, Newark, NJ – Jul 21, 1968, Hollywood, CA), dancer and choreographer. After initial success in vaudeville and on Broadway, she focused her style on ethno-religious themes and became a pioneer of modern American dance. Particularly interested in the traditions of Egypt and India, she created the dances “Radha” (1906), “The Incense” (1909…