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Folklore of the Teeth


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Class D 013 KAN [Basement]
Author - Personal name Kanner, L
Title statement Folklore of the Teeth
Publication , distribution etc. (Imprint New York 1928 Macmillan
Subject - Topical term FOLKLORE

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British Dental Association D 013 KAN [BASEMENT] Available
British Dental Association D 013 KAN [BASEMENT] Available

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Rating : 8
Comment : Review originally published in the British Dental Journal 1969 126; 347 In recent years two classes of books of interest and value to dental historians, but long out of print, have been reissued in some numbers. Some original texts of which copies had become extremely scarce have been reproduced by photolithographic processes and, accompanied in some cases by scholarly introductions, have become much more widely available to the serious student. The other class of reprint includes books which were standard histories on their time and studies of historical themes or subjects which, though published many years ago, are still worthy of careful consideration for their contribution of knowledge and understanding to the development of the dental profession and its relationship to the community. Of the latter class, is Dr Leo Kanner’s book, first published in 1928 and now reissued. He described comprehensively ‘… the superstitions and traditions, proverbs, folksongs, legends, charms, invocations, the pathologic and therapeutic beliefs and measures as centred upon the teeth, their development, their number and position, their diseases, their loss, their use outside of the oral cavity and the various forms of their mutilation…’ He collected a vast amount of material from all parts of the world and supported his text with a bibliography of 308 items on which he had drawn. Not only is this book instructive to the historian but it should provide much of interest to every practitioner. Most will be surprised to learn of what remote origin are some superstitions and beliefs, connected with the teeth, which are not unknown among civilised communities at the present day. There has, of course, been much further work done in this field in the past forty years since Dr Kanner published his book. Many members of the dental profession have devoted time to search, inquiry and recording of new data from many countries. Further information about dental folklore has also come to hand incidentally, as a result of anthropological observations and archaeological discoveries. Kanner, in his introduction, emphasised his attitude to his book as a rudiment or skeleton around which he expected that a fuller body of information would be built up by later workers. It is to be hoped that the reissue of his book will be welcomed, that it will be widely read and that it will stimulate full and continuing studies of more recently available material so that Kanner’s expectation may be realised. J.A. Donaldson (Reviewer)
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