The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #4018   Message #520211
Posted By: IanC
03-Aug-01 - 04:50 AM
Thread Name: Origins: John Henry
Subject: RE: The origins of john Henry

I think it might be worth spending a little time reading the corpus of research work on John Henry before you bring us back to this old "John Hardy/John Henry" red herring. It's been well covered in the literature and the prettywell universal agreement is that the transformation was the other way round - via common "floating verses".

This thread (and the others on the subject) isn't my favourite ... basically because I spent a great deal of time about 2-3 years ago in researching the question by reading the 3 main books written in the 20s on the subject and all the subsequent literature available in the libraries and on the net. The same notions which get well quashed by various good studies keep coming up here. I'm not meaning John Garst's well-intentioned and obviously well researched attempts at proving a Georgia provenance here.

For what it's worth, I have two pieces of advice for anyone wanting to make a serious contribution to this discussion. (1) Read what has already been written before you form your own conclusions. There is plenty on this subject, much of it well researched and helpful. (2) Never try to find confirmatory evidence for a view you hold ... you'll only find yourself stretching the evidence to suit your hypothesis. Logically, things can never be fully confirmed, only disproved.

Now I've had my 2d worth of grouch. I'm sorry if this causes anyone any offence ... it wasn't intended to.