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Hester Lyr Req: Sheath and Knife (65* d) RE: Sheath and Knife 12 Nov 02


Hi, Malcolm:

Thanks for those elucidations.

>>>Another problem is that Child died before he was able to write his planned Introduction to the collection, which, among other things, would have explained how his system actually worked.<<<

O, poor Child! And the poor scholars trying to follow him.

I think I shall have to put _The English and Scottish Popular Ballads_ on my Xmas wish list. It would be handy to have my own copy. Is there a good version with all the volumes bound in a single book that you could recommend?

The Leesom Brand is quite an interesting text, but I don't quite see why you think it is "MORE fruitful for you if you are looking for correspondences". Obviously it is a very close cousin to Sheath & Knife (especially 15B), but I don't see how it sheds any additional light on the question of how the extraneous "gravesite divined by arrow" motif might have found its way into the Robin Hood legend in the late 18th century.

>>>Online texts without the notes are, I feel, of little real use to anyone who's serious about the subject.<<<

Ah, seriousness -- I left that behind in grad school. When it comes to folk ballads, I'm a just hobbyist, and my particular interest is the Robin Hood legend, rather than the ballads as a whole. Moreover,
as a structuralist rather than a historian, I believe we can learn a great deal from a close reading and comparative analysis of the texts themselves, even when there are no notes available or "external corroboration" as you term it.

>>>Broom turns up so often that it's unsafe to base conclusions upon it<<<

Broom may be a common element of folksongs, but as I've mentioned, it occurs in the Robin Hood canon ONLY in Child 120B as far as I am aware. Indeed, it occurs in the opening stanza, which is markedly different from the usual paean to spring that opens most other RH ballads, even those which are violent rather than comic in nature. And the frequent repetition of the reference to broom in the refrain of "Sheath and Knife" makes it a key textual element of that particular ballad as well.   

Cheers, Hester


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