The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878   Message #4028709
Posted By: GUEST,Pseudonymous
17-Jan-20 - 08:34 AM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
I'm sharing an overview of the contents of Harker's book, in case Mudcat readers who have not read it look at this thread and wonder. Also because I think we are in danger of discussing some of the people Harker discusses, not the book itself. Some have their own threads.

So what is the book about?

A Title.   People have objected to the title, especially the word ‘manufacture’. It might help us get a handle on what the book is about (e.g. for Mudcat readers who haven’t read it and come here hoping for information) to consider less charged alternative titles. Is it fair to say it is ‘A Critical Historical Review of What Has Been Written About and Offered As Examples of British ‘Folksong’ from 1700 to the Present Day?’ The present day being 1985.

B Contents and their arrangement. I’ll attempt a simple outline. Apologies for any oversimplification. As said before, largely chronological.

Introduction: includes discussion of the concept of ‘mediation’. This concept highlights the fact that this is a largely book about people who are not ‘working class’ making assertions about working class culture (eg ‘folklore’). Put simply, Harker doesn’t think they get it right. And he thinks some of their mistakes reflect the class interests of the bourgeoisie (e.g. a desire for national unity/national identity instead of a workers’ revolution).

PART ONE: Two Centuries Before Child (roughly 1780 to 1860) Focus on UK.
1 Early mediators
2 Thomas Percy to Joseph Ritson
3 Walter Scott to Robert Chambers
4 Thomas Wright to John Harland

PART TWO: FJ Child and the Ballad ‘consensus’ (Focus mainly on US-based work)

5 FJ Child. Biography and discussion of his ‘editions’ of selections of ballads with commentaries etc
Discusses problems Child faced sorting out and categorising the mass of what I’ll call ‘raw data’ he had assembled and selecting what to publish and what to leave out.
6 The ‘Ballad Consensus’

PART THREE: CJ Sharp and the Folksong ‘consensus’. (Focus mainly on UK-based work)

7 Some pre-Sharp characters including Engel and his ‘national music’; the late 19th C early 20th C collectors e.g. Broadwood, Baring-Gould, Kidson. Formation of Folk Song Society 1898
8 Sharp himself: biography, career, ideas about folk song and its origins etc
9 The folksong consensus
10 Alfred Owen Williams and the Upper Thames
11 AL Lloyd: the one that got away