North American Scholar

LORD, Albert Bates

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  • Date of Birth (YYYY-MM-DD): 1912-09-15
  • Born City: Boston
  • Born State/Country: MA
  • Parents: Robert Whiting, a candy manufacturer, & Corinne Adeline Bates L.
  • Date of Death (YYYY-MM-DD): 1991-07-21
  • Death City: Boston
  • Death State/Country: MA
  • Married: Mary Louise Carlson, 24 Aug. 1950.
  • Education:

    A.B. Harvard, 1934; A.M. (comp. lit.) 1936; jr. fell. Society of Fellows, 1937-40; Ph.D. (comp. lit.), 1949.

  • Professional Experience:

    Collected folk poetry in Yugoslavia, 1934-5, 1937, 1950-1, 1961-4, 1966-7; Albania, 1937, Bulgaria, 195§-9; Guggenheim fell., 1949-50; lctr. Slavic Harvard, 1950-2; asso. prof. Slavic langs. & lit., 1952-8; prof. Slavic & comp. lit., 1958-72; Arthur Kingsley Porter prof., 1972-83; hon. curator, Milman Parry Coll. Oral Lit. Harvard, 1959-91; Order of St. Sava (Yugoslavia); fell. AAAS.

  • Dissertation:

    "The Singer of Tales" (Harvard, 1949); printed (Cambridge, 1950)

  • Publications:

    (Books only): Serbo-Croatian Folk Songs, with Bela Bartok (New York, 1951); Serbo-Croatian Heroic Songs, vols. 1 & 2 (Cambridge & Belgrade, 1953-4), vols. 3 & 4, with David E. Bynum (1975); Beginning Serbocroatian (The Hague, 1958); Umbundu: Folk Tales from Angola (Boston, 1962); Beginning Bulgarian, with David E. Bynum (The Hague, 1962); A Bulgarian Literary Reader (Cambridge, 1962); The Wedding of Smailagic Meho (Cambridge, 1974); Yugoslav Folk Music, with Bela Bartók, ed. Benjamin Suchoff (Albany, NY, 1978); Serbo-Croatian Folk Songs and Instrumental Pieces from the Milman Parry Collection (Albany, NY, 1978); Epic Singers and Oral Tradition (Ithaca, NY, 1991).Festschrift: Oral Traditional Literature: A Festschrift for Albert Bates Lord, ed. John Miles Foley (Columbus, OH, 1981).

  • Notes:

    Albert Bates Lord was a student of Milman Parry with whom he collected examples of oral poetry during the academic year 1934-5 spent in Yugoslavia. After Parry's death he continued the field work in Yugoslavia and Albania in 1937, and again as Guggenheim Fellow in 1949-50, returning in 1961-4 for an extended stay in Yugoslavia. In 1958 he was in Bulgaria collecting songs, and thereafter he spent summers in the Balkans collecting material. Lord is significant for having made the study of traditional oral narrative a conventional academic discipline in a constantly growing number of universities. With Parry he worked out a theory that accounted for the creation and transmission of the Homeric poems in a preliterate society and from that he went on to study the nature of orality around the world. In 1988 he was honored both by the Yugoslavian government and by the American Folklore Society, whereby his immense contributions to the study of Southslavic literature and to the folk literature of the world were acknowledged. All students of oral literature around the world are in his debt.

  • Sources:

    WhWh 1978-9:2000.

  • Author: Charles R. Beye