Mudcat Café message #3514965 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #150417   Message #3514965
Posted By: Steve Gardham
14-May-13 - 10:27 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5
Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 5

'it may be admitted that he has done at least as much "editing" as we have seen to be done by reputable editors before him.'

First of all the editors before him have been proved to be anything but reputable if we mean the likes of Percy, Scott, Jamieson. Child obviously thought the 'at Least' was a gross understatement.


'But what was the principal intention of the deceit? To boost the faker's own prestige as a collector? To lie about the past? To create the most artistically pleasing verses?'

You're not far off the mark. Their first loyalty was to their rich patrons (hence the localising and the including of their patrons' ancestors in a good light, a la Shakespeare) Secondly, yes, they were in the business of selling books and incomplete ballads don't sell very well. Thirdly they were in competition with each other, hence PB's inordinately elongated versions. The only real thing in contention is their assertions at various times that they didn't alter anything.

Once again Hustvedt did little research of his own on Child. Much of what he has to say is derived from earlier writers. If he had looked at PB's Harvard Ms as I have in great detail he'd have seen that it is simply a publishers' proof of Ancient Ballads of the North and the only things altered by Laing and Sharpe are a very few accent spellings. The same could be said for all of Buchan's Mss including those in the BL. There are NO field notes whatsoever. Only finished doctored ballads and songs.