Accepted Paper:

Castles in Latvian folk-tales and legends  


Guntis Pakalns (Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art, University of Latvia)

Paper short abstract:

Also in Latvian folk-tales and legends the travelling folklore motives and plots have merged with indistinct memories of the ancient past, later being even more influenced by historical events and the tradition of book illustration.

Paper long abstract:

The ancestors of the Latvians ceased to have their own castles and manor houses in the 13th century, after which only foreign lords owned castles on this soil.

The folk-tale castles are usually not described in detail, leaving enough space for imagination. So the illustrators of folk-tale books have applied their time-related idea to the images. This tradition of illustration has followed its own path, little related to the texts, creating a more "national" tradition than that in the folklore texts.

The castles in the legends are different. The sunken ones that some are lucky to see and even visit. Then there are ruins where ghosts can be seen. The manor houses of the feudal lords, where the masters ruthlessly exploit their subjects - the serfs and servants. The castles of the contemporary masters, mentioned in many an urban legend...

The descriptions of castles also show the level of culture contacts, as these have come to this land together with the texts of folk-tales and legends they are featured in. By analysing the description of castles in some individual types of traditional narratives, the author of the presentation will try to isolate some features of the possible "Latvian" castles.

The present research also uses the data obtained in a survey - how are castles and other dwellings of rich persons seen by children, participating in storytelling contests on the national scale today.

The presentation is planned to be in German, while the texts in the slides will be in English.

Panel Nar01
Das Märchenschloss: Luxuriöse Behausung in märchenhaften Erzählungen