Mudcat Café message #3940914 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #162666   Message #3940914
Posted By: Steve Gardham
01-Aug-18 - 04:05 PM
Thread Name: New Book: Folk Song in England
Subject: RE: New Book: Folk Song in England
Child's purpose is certainly an enigma. When on Grundtvig's advice he chose to be inclusive, at first he could include almost anything without having to go into detail about why he included certain ballads; but later-on I certainly detect a weariness about some of the suspect items he felt duty-bound to include, for instance, one off items with little real likelihood of ever having been part of oral tradition. In the first 2 volumes (Dover 5) he was quite sarcastic and scathing about those pieces he felt had been heavily tampered with by the editors and their contributors; but after that he becomes strangely silent in this respect and largely includes suspect pieces with no comment. I have my opinions on why this happened but they are just opinions, though the Young Ronald statement would appear to bear me out. I think the fact that he didn't produce the longed for definitive statement was a deliberate act.

>>>>>The song reads 'oddly' to me:<<<<< I presume you are referring to No.3 but several of the ballads refer to scholars/school and also one he didn't include, Trees they do grow High.

I can't remember reading >>>>>songs were written by higher classes in a complex pre-literate but not 'primitive' society and got ruined when the lower classes got their hands on them<<<<<< He may have written this before he got well into studying the ballads. It certainly goes against modern scholarship which tells us very few of the surviving ballads (in ballad form) go back beyond 1500 and many are much later. One has only to look at the historical ballads to realise this. Some of the stories are certainly a lot older but not in English ballad form. (Hind Horn, Lord Randall)