Spring 1951 • Vol. XIII No. 2 CommunicationsApril 1, 1951 |

Mr. Hyman and the Dictionary

SIRS: In a review of Volume I of The Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend (1949, Maria Leach, Ed.) which was published in your Autumn 1950 number, a number of aggressive statements were made, as well as several misstatements of fact. May I draw your attention to a few of these, and request that this material be brought to the attention of your readers? Page 726, KENYON REVIEW: "The besetting foolishness of the book, as of so much American folk scholarship, is the idea that mythic figures were or may have been historical: such as…Hiawatha and so on interminably." To a student of the American Indian the dictum that Hiawatha could not possibly have been an actual person would be of some interest—if true. But I am afraid that no American Indian specialist in his right mind is going to take your reviewer's word for this, since specialists customarily deal with evidence. The evidence in this case (as stated in the Dictionary entry on

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