The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #157878 Message #4029127
Posted By: Lighter
19-Jan-20 - 06:45 PM
Thread Name: Dave Harker, Fakesong
Subject: RE: Dave Harker, Fakesong
This sentence, buried deep, seems to sum up much of Cole's argument:
"Folk traditions...do not exist outside the discursive edifice of revivalism."
If my doctorate in English literature and linguistics is of any use here, he appears to be speaking not about real traditions but about the "idea" of traditions that was cobbled together by fin-de-siecle enthusiasts deluded by both a fear of and a fascination with perceived Otherness (or "alterity").
More especially, their fear of the modern world's "corruption" led them to seek cultural purity, personal comfort, and occasionally profit, in songs and lore taken from "simple" (i.e., supposedly ignorant, ingenuous, and pretty much interchangeable) country people. The collectors wanted to believe that what they arbitrarily denoted "folklore" and "folk song" contained precious holdovers from the racial past - if only they could be teased out.
But I could be wrong, and I'm sure I'm leaving some things out.
If only Joseph Jacobs, Henry Burstow, or the "overlooked" Louise Pound could have edited this article.