The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #155519   Message #3658967
Posted By: GUEST,Fred McCormick
10-Sep-14 - 06:44 AM
Thread Name: Ballads not included in Child
Subject: RE: Ballads not included in Child
Lighter. This thread started over the question of ballads which Child omitted, either because he didn't know about them, or because he didn't think them worthy of inclusion.

With regard to the latter therefore, we cannot get away from the question of definition. That is because Child must have some sort of criteria in his head in order to distinguish between those ballads which he deemed acceptable and those which he did not.

The problem is that ballads are not put together with nuts and bolts. They are all different, and they are all different because they have been created via artistic expression. IE., the ballad maker had something to say and used whatever poetic devices were available to say it.

In truth I doubt if any form of art is defineable. For example, try asking a poet to define the word poem and see what happens. The likleyhood is that they will wax forth in beautiful lyrical prose (As Plath did when she wrote about the 'Magical mountains. (At least I think it was Plath, but I could be wrong.)) But you will not get a workable watertight definition. Yet I doubt if there's ever been a poet who didn't have a clear idea of what poetry is and why their own work conformed to that idea.