Cover for Brown: Child's Unfinished Masterpiece: The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. Click for larger image

Child's Unfinished Masterpiece

The English and Scottish Popular Ballads

An in-depth analysis of the creation of Child's opus, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads

The premier scholar of the English-language traditional or popular ballad, Francis James Child spent decades working on his widely read and performed collection, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads. In this first single author monograph of Child's life and work, Mary Ellen Brown analyzes Child's editorial methods, his decisions about which ballads to include, and his relationships with colleagues at Harvard and abroad. Brown draws on his extensive correspondence with collaborators to trace the production of his monumental work from conception and selection through organization and collation of the ballads.

Child's Unfinished Masterpiece shows readers what was at stake in Child's search for original manuscript materials housed at libraries and estates far afield and his desire to uncover unedited versions of previous editors' texts. In analyzing Child's letters, Brown also delves into his important network of collaborators, scholars, and friends such as William Macmath, Sven Grundtvig, James Russell Lowell, and Charles Eliot Norton, who influenced the organization and content of his work. Readers learn about the questions Child faced as an editor: whether the materials he gathered were authentic, whether a piece was more ballad or a song, or whether the text was sufficiently old or traditional. In showing Child's struggles with content and organization for The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Brown notes the difficulty in defining the ballad genre while also showing that a clear definition is not a fatal flaw of the volume or to scholars' continued study of it.

"A key text for English-language ballad studies."--Victorian Studies

"This monument of research, synthesis, and reflection is a groundbreaking book that stands as its own major contribution to folklore and ballad studies and serves as a stimulus for further research--just as Child's own titanic work has done. I learned many things from this book, as will anyone who opens its pages."--Maureen N. McLane, author of Balladeering, Minstrelsy, and the Making of British Romantic Poetry

"This illuminating study captures the richness of Francis James Child's labors on The English and Scottish Popular Ballads through a patient scrutiny of his vast correspondence with a host of collaborators. In tracing Child's conclusions about the ballads, Brown provides valuable analysis of the letters that will be appreciated by ballad scholars, folklorists, and scholars of literature alike."--James Porter, founding editor of The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music

Mary Ellen Brown is a professor emerita of folklore, women's studies, and English (adjunct) at Indiana University Bloomington. Her previous publications include William Motherwell's Cultural Politics, 17971835 and Burns and Tradition.

To order online:
http://www.press.uillinois.edu/books/catalog/34wnd5xk9780252035944.html

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
Digital Critical Editions

Edited by Daniel Apollon, Claire Bélisle, and Philippe Régnier

Greg Egan

Karen Burnham

American Literary Realism

Edited by Gary Scharnhorst

Journal of American Folklore

Edited by Thomas A. DuBois and James P. Leary

Roll Over, Tchaikovsky!

Russian Popular Music and Post-Soviet Homosexuality

Stephen Amico

Maithil Women's Tales

Storytelling on the Nepal-India Border

Coralynn V. Davis

American Music

Edited by Neil Lerner

The Pekin

The Rise and Fall of Chicago’s First Black-Owned Theater

Thomas Bauman

A Feminist Ethnomusicology

Writings on Music and Gender

Ellen Koskoff