Adaptive Occasions: Synchronic Correlatives in Traditional Folktale Adaptations

Daniel Joseph Sobol

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This essay examines a contemporary re-figuration of the traditional Appalachian folktale “Jack and the Giants’ Newground” through the lens of a recent performance event. The mechanisms of parody generate imaginative friction of foreground and background, a structural aesthetic of formal or functional congruence and indicial dissonance. I posit a key device for such genre-crossing adaptations, one I call the synchronic correlative. Synchronic correlatives are a form of meta-discursive parallelism, Synchronic because they work as non-linear connectors between otherwise independent local/temporal constructs, they are thematic or indicial pivot points that serve to launch a tale-type from one imaginative frame into another.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-325
JournalJournal of American Folklore
Issue number525
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


  • Storytelling
  • traditional
  • contemporary
  • adaptation
  • synchronic correlative
  • performance
  • AFS Ethnographic Thesaurus
  • Jack Tales
  • creativity
  • parody


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