Ballad Books and Ballad Men: Raids and Rescues in Britain, America, and the Scandinavian North since 1800

Ballad Books and Ballad Men: Raids and Rescues in Britain, America, and the Scandinavian North since 1800

Ballad Books and Ballad Men: Raids and Rescues in Britain, America, and the Scandinavian North since 1800

Ballad Books and Ballad Men: Raids and Rescues in Britain, America, and the Scandinavian North since 1800

Excerpt

This book may be regarded as a sequel to my Ballad Criticism in Scandinavia and Great Britain during the Eighteenth Century, published in 1916. The geographical field is much the same in this work as in that: Britain, America, and the Scandinavian countries; in this instance, however, I have given relatively greater space to the English and Scottish ballads and their history than in the other. The regional restriction is determined, not by any disregard for the ballads of other countries, but by the advisability of making some sort of limitation within the very extensive confines of the whole subject and by the conviction that northern Europe forms a ballad domain in many respects closely unified. An intimate correlation of this sort was recognized by Svend Grundtvig and by Francis James Child. In the history of British and Scandinavian balladry, the names of these two editors have become permanently associated. Their correspondence, as published in the Appendixes, will make the significance of that association more clear than it has hitherto been. The work of Grundtvig cannot be understood until we read the story of both the British and the Scandinavian ballads; the work of Child cannot be understood unless we know the story of the services of his Danish predecessor and collaborator, not only to balladry in general but to the English and Scottish ballads in particular. For reasons that will appear more fully in the course of the narrative, the emphasis in this book is laid chiefly upon collectors and published collections; the history of criticism is somewhat subordinated; the influence of folk-poetry upon other literature is treated incidentally. The discussion has to do almost exclusively with the history of such ballads as are commonly called popular. The popular ballads have made a historic place for themselves and therefore may conveniently and properly be . . .

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