Mudcat Café message #4028316 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4028316
Posted By: Brian Peters
14-Jan-20 - 02:31 PM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Thanks for the comments - I did take a bit of time over that post. But another FMJ paper, Steve?? Don't know if I've got it in me...

Going back to an earlier post of Steve G's, I'm interested in the following and would like to know more (although it might warrant a separate thread):

"There are some excellent academic books and theses not so well-known that go into the fakery that was taking place in the eighteenth century. David C Fowler is excellent in this respect, and I've come across several academics who imply that many of the ballads in the Child canon were deliberately fabricated by sophisticated hands in the eighteenth century, and this continued through into the early-nineteenth. Chambers may have been wrong when he attributed many of them to one writer, but his thesis may have been correct if applied to several writers, all possibly co-operating or being tutored."

I would probably have regarded this as heresy a few years ago, but my work on Appalachian variants (many of which derived from ballads taken to North America by 18th-century migrants) makes me wonder. For instance, all the numerous Appalachian versions I've seen of Child 68 'Young Hunting', end with the conversation between the murderess and the talking bird, whereas just about all of the texts in Child from Herd and Kinloch onwards proceed considerably further with the story, often to such supernatural elements as the corpse-candles on the water, the bleeding cadaver, and the fireproof maidservant. This at least suggests the question of whether there was an as-yet undiscovered version of 68 doing the rounds in the 18th century lacking all the supernatural stuff and, if so, at what point the embellishments to the story were added. I don't think there's any early print version to help us out.

I see that Fowler is available online for a fiver, so it looks like I need to read that one, but I'd love to know who the other academics are and what' if anything, they've published on the matter.