The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #150639   Message #3511197
Posted By: SteveMansfield
03-May-13 - 01:58 AM
Thread Name: 'Tis The Merry Month of May
Subject: RE: 'Tis The Merry Month of May
Somewhere in there was the academic belief that once upon a time humans had perfect understanding of why they did things, but in passing it down, it got muddled. So, by tracing things back, finding the original, or as near to it as they could get, they could figure out what that was all about - religion being the main field of study.

That theory only worked, of course, if you'd first convinced yourself that you were looking at a dumb uncreative group of people who unthinkingly repeated the same ritual year after year, never consciously innovating but gradually losing the original meaning. A highly snobbish and patrician approach, in other words, like the collectors who ironed all the modes out of folk songs so they were suitable for pianoforte accompaniment in the drawing rooms of respectable people.

Didn't know that about story about the Morris in Oxford in the 20s, interesting.