Mudcat Café message #4032722 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4032722
Posted By: GUEST,Pseudonymous
07-Feb-20 - 05:59 AM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Hello Brian

I read your post with some interest.

What Harker said was that Sharp did not consider the idea that broadsides and mummers were 'essential'. This is the key word. And at no point does Sharp consider this idea. He does discuss broadsides but this particular idea is not one that he discusses.

The Kidson-Sharp thing is interesting. Sharp had various difference of approach/opinion with Kidson, it appears. But on the point at issue, once again, I feel that quotations may have been taken out of context.

If a reader of Harker came to the conclusion that Harker claimed that Sharp did not know anything about broadsides or had not seen one, then we have to conclude that they had not read Harker carefully enough.

The point Harker is making is not that Sharp did not know anything about broadsides. It is not true to say that you could read Harker and come away with the idea that Sharp knew nothing about broadsides. See for example p193! Harker is making a point about broadside production in Somerset at a particular point in time, and stating that Sharp does not appear to have known about that because he does not use this information in his account of the possible provenance of songs he collected. Harker provides a list of broadside publishers active at the time in question.

Harker makes this point: 'It seems never to have occurred to Sharp that to ask for old songs from old people in the early 1900s would inevitably result in the collection of items widely popular in a commercial context before 1850.' Harker cannot understand why Sharp persists in viewing people who knew songs about the Napoleonic wars as 'peasants' cut off from outside influences etc etc.

Before I end, some people have indicated a belief that Bearman finished off Harker once and for all. Of course, while doing this, Bearman also finishes off many of the beliefs of Sharp and of revival singers, including the idea that 'folk song' relates to ag lab lower class types. Bearman does not like folk song, he likes Vaughan Williams etc.

Bearman disputes with Harker over definitions of 'peasant' relying on what was in effect the first ever multi-volume OED which came out during Sharp's time. Its definition of peasant has two parts. Bearman uses the 2nd part which he sees as relating broadly to a 'countryman' or 'rustic'. Had he looked at the examples of 'usage' (and the present OED has more or less identical definition and usage examples) he would have seen that the sense he chose to go with was more like an insult than the pre-Raphaelite medievalist nationalistic sentimentalism intended by Sharp.

I am sorry but Sharp's complaints that English culture is too 'cosmopolitan' and that we need something more purely national do have a ring of the hard right, and for me they should not be skimmed over but acknowledged as part of our national heritage, and not a part we should be proud of, in my opinion.

I did not set out to defend Harker but to describe this scholarly book as 'intellectual rubble' seems 'begrudgery'!

Thank you. I leave you to have any last words.