The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #155519 Message #3658944
Posted By: GUEST,Fred McCormick
10-Sep-14 - 05:22 AM
Thread Name: Ballads not included in Child
Subject: RE: Ballads not included in Child
Steve. Get Up and Bar the Door.
An interesting one. Most scholars would probably agree that one of the most important attributes of a ballad is that it proceeds by alternating short bursts of dramatic action and terse dialogue.
Well, there's precious little action in GUABTD and the whole point of the story is that the two main protagonists agree not to engage in dialogue, terse or otherwise!
I'm being somewhat facetious of course. But thereby hangs an important point. Because nobody was stamping them out on an assembly line, there are significant points of variation in the ballad type. EG., if dramatic action and terse dialogue really are defining qualities, then we would have to scrap Lord Randall and several others, which consist of nothing but terse dialogue.
We've just got to face it. The ballad is a social construct, like folksong itself in fact. That doesn't deny its usefulness from a scholarly point of view, and it doesn't stop the hairs from lifting off the back of my head every tme I hear one.
For me, we've just got to accept the imperfections and inconsistencies of Child's anthology, and live with it.