Jan Harold Brunvand

From Academic Kids

Jan Harold Brunvand (born 1933) is a professor emeritus of English at the University of Utah in the United States who is best known for spreading the concept of the urban legend, or modern folklore. Before his work, folk tales were associated with ancient times or rural cultures; Brunvand's breakthrough was to take concepts developed in the academic study of traditional folktales and apply them to stories circulating in the modern world.

Brunvand is the author of several well-known books on the topic, starting with The Vanishing Hitchhiker in 1981. This book brought urban legends to popular attention in the United States.

Born in Cadillac, Michigan, Brunvand received a Ph.D. in folklore from Indiana University in 1961. He taught at several U.S. universities before joining the University of Utah in 1966. He retired in 1996, but remains a popular speaker and writer.

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