This thesis explores the stories which revolve around folk legend Hugh Winder Nibley and what those stories mean to the people of Brigham Young University. Folklore reveals who we are and what is important to us. But, interestingly, folklore tends to reveal more about the person telling the story than about the subject of the story itself. People can't remember every story they hear. The ones they do remember are important to them. The stories are important because they fulfill basic needs of the teller. Such needs are a desire to look up to a hero, a need to fit in and belong to a group, a need to feel superior, a need to reinforce paradigms, a wish to instill others with values one believes in, a wish fulfillment, or a desire for entertainment. Nibley plays many roles for the people of BYU including hero, iconoclast, eccentric, spiritual guide, and defender of the faith. Whether remembering our group past or individual past, stories fill the functions of codifying what is acceptable behavior, releasing tension, illustrating an important point, mitigating the harshness of life, and providing a unifying link between people in a community. Stories are important. The Nibley stories I have collected demonstrate what BYU as a community feels deeply about.
College and Department
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Brady, Jane D., "The Brigham Young University Folklore of Hugh Winder Nibley: Gifted Scholar, Eccentric Professor and Latter-Day Saint Spiritual Guide" (1996). All Theses and Dissertations. 4548.
Hugh Nibley, 1910, Folklore, Brigham Young University, Faculty, Mormons