Mudcat Café message #3879461 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3879461
Posted By: Brian Peters
30-Sep-17 - 10:48 AM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
One of the reasons I felt obliged to speak up for the value of Bert Lloyd's book, in posts above, is that the parts of his book where he talks about the content of specific songs (and song types) is, for me, where his writing is really valuable.

I was prompted by Matt's comment to pull down the Lloyd book from the shelves and leaf through it again. While with the benefit of hindsight it's easy to raise a sceptical eyebrow at many of the more romantic suggestions regarding the age and antecedents of the ballads (amongst other things), it did remind me how exciting I found this book when I first read it as a teenager, and how it helped to convince me that these were songs I needed to sing.

You're right that the Roud book doesn't concern itself too much with 'what's in the songs themselves' - that seems to be taken as read. Lloyd of course had plenty to say on the matter. I don't know offhand of many scholarly overviews of that kind of thing - maybe Evelyn Wells' 'The Ballad Tree'? - but things like imagery, metaphor, narrative devices and the other things you mention are always coming up in ballad workshops and have been the stuff of many a Mudcat discussion over the years.