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Folklore: False Foodrage(89) and the hero formula

GUEST,Hilary 03 Aug 13 - 07:28 PM
GUEST 04 Aug 13 - 02:59 AM
Susan of DT 04 Aug 13 - 06:11 AM
GUEST,Fred McCormick 04 Aug 13 - 06:30 AM
GUEST,Hilary 04 Aug 13 - 08:31 AM
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Subject: Folklore: False Foodrage(89) and the hero formula
From: GUEST,Hilary
Date: 03 Aug 13 - 07:28 PM

It has occurred to me that Child 89, False Foodrage, fits Lord Raglan's hero formula. For those who don't know, Raglan came up with 22 characteristics of the hero story, building on earlier work by Johann Georg von Hahn. In the version I know, King Honor's son, the one whose father False Foodrage kills, has 10 of the 22 characteristics, although some may be stretching it a bit. Also, it seems remarkable to me that it has ten even though it's a shorter ballad, not a longer epic narrative.

1) his mother is a royal virgin: She's not necessarily royal, but she's a "fair young maid" who has "gold" and "fee," a wealthy virgin.
2) his father is a king: "king of Honoree"
6) at birth an attempt is made, often by his father, to kill him: False Foodrage tells his mother that if her child is a boy he will "mount the gallows pin."
7) but, he is spirited away: His mother escapes her prison before she gives birth.
8) and reared by foster parents: He is traded with Wise William's daughter at birth.
9) we are told nothing of his childhood: The story skips from the trading of children to "when days had gone and years had passed" and the boy is a young man.
10) on reaching manhood he returns or goes to his future kingdom: Wise William brings him hunting in the forest near his father's castle.
11) after a victory over the king: He kills False Foodrage.
12) He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor: He marries Wise William's daughter, not a princess, but, as his mother's surrogate daughter, could be considered one. She's not the daughter of his predecessor, but is his foster sister essentially, so is raised as the daughter of a previous ruler.
13) and becomes king: We can infer that he takes over the kingdom after killing False Foodrage.

Thoughts on this? Does anybody know if there has been any scholarship done on this that I could read? It's interesting that False Foodrage seems to play the role of the hero's father or, rather, could be swapped out for him to make the story fit the hero formula more.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: False Foodrage(89) and the hero formula
Date: 04 Aug 13 - 02:59 AM

Interested in is Raglan - what books by him can you recommend?

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Subject: RE: Folklore: False Foodrage(89) and the hero formula
From: Susan of DT
Date: 04 Aug 13 - 06:11 AM

It is interesting that most of these "characteristics of the hero story" are about who the hero is and not what he does. King Honor's son does very little in the ballad. He is born, grows up off stage, revenges his father and gets married. Killing Foodrage is his only heroic action. His mother is more heroic - surviving, getting the guards drunk, switching the babies, and designing the code to talk about them.

I would not call this a "shorter ballad". It is 35 verses in Child and 24 as Brian Peters (and I) sing it.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: False Foodrage(89) and the hero formula
From: GUEST,Fred McCormick
Date: 04 Aug 13 - 06:30 AM

Guest, Hilary is probably referring to an article called the Hero of Tradition, originally published in Folklore, Vol 45 1934), or possibly to a book called The Hero: A Study in Tradition, Myth, and Drama.

I don't have a copy of the latter, but you can find a reprint of the article in Alan Dundes, The Study of Folklore. My copy was published by Prentis Hall in 1964, although you could doubtless find it anthologised in quite a few other places.

Unfortunately it's so long since I read it that I can't help any further. However, here is a copy of Dundes' introduction in TSOF.

Like Olrik's article on epic laws, this essay by Fitzroy Richard Somerset, Fourth Baron Raglan, delineating a pattern of twenty-two elements underlying the life stories of a great number of folk heroes, is considered a classic. The essay was originally given as an address to the English Folklore Society in June 1934. In 1936, it was slightly revised to form the core of a book entitled The Hero: A Study in Tradition, Myth, and Drama.
Raglan applied the pattern, derived initially from the biography of Oedipus, to the stories of such heroes as Theseus, Moses, and King Arthur. Then each of these heroes was given a score based upon the number of elements he had in his biography. The striking similarity of the biographies of these heroes is demonstrated by the high scores of more than a dozen examples. From this patterned similarity, Raglan concluded that hero cycles lacked historicity. It could not be, reasoned Raglan, that every one of these heroes had lived identical lives. Even if an individual hero was historical, it was clear to Raglan that his life biography was not, it having been molded to fit the hero life-cycle pattern. According to Raglan, the pattern is not historical, but rather a reflection of a birth, initiation, and death ritual, possibly of a royal personage, who was also considered to be the incarnation of a god.
There were, prior to Raglan's study, many earlier attempts to discover the formulaic pattern of hero cycles. In 1864, Johann Georg von Hahn listed some of the various formulas he had noticed in folk narrative. In a way, this list might be considered a precursor of the tale type system developed by Antti Aarne in 1910. One of the formulas, number four, concerned the exposure of the newborn hero. Later, in Sagwissenschaftliche Studien, a theoretical work on folk narrative published in 1876, seven years after his death, von Hahn presents in tabular form a detailed outline of what he termed the Aryan Expulsion and Return Formula (Arische Aussetzungs- and Riickkehr-Formel). From the biographies of 14 heroes including Oedipus, von Hahn devised a set of 16 incidents which he divided into 4 basic groups: birth (1-3), youth (4-9), return (10-13), and additional events (14-16). The incidents are as follows:
1. The hero is of illegitimate birth.
2. His mother is the princess of the country.
3. His father is a god or a foreigner.
4. There are signs warning of his ascendance.
5. For this reason he is abandoned.
6. He is suckled by animals.
7. He is brought up by a childless shepherd couple.
8. He is a high-spirited youth.
9. He seeks service in a foreign country.
10. He returns victorious and goes back to the foreign land.
11. He slays his original persecutors, accedes to rule the country, and sets his mother free.
12. He founds cities.
13. The manner of his death is extraordinary.
14. He is reviled because of incest and he dies young.
15. He dies by an act of revenge at the hands of an insulted servant.
16. He murders his younger brother.
Five years later, in 1881, Alfred Nutt successfully applied von Hahn's scheme with minor modifications to fourteen examples of Celtic hero narratives, including the cycles of Finn, Cuchulain, and Arthur. Nutt, like von Hahn, presented his findings in a tabular fold-out.
Otto Rank's psychoanalytic study, The Myth of the Birth of the Hero, appeared in 1909; however, it contained references only to von Hahn's earlier 1864 work. In 1928, a Russian folklorist, Vladimir Propp, published his Morphology of the Folktale in which he proposed an analytic plot scheme for Russian fairy tales. (Fairy tales were defined as Aarne-Thompson Tale Types 300-749.) Propp's scheme has thirty-one elements, which he termed functions, and is perhaps the most complete account of the hero's "life history" as it appears in folktales.
There have also been some studies since Raglan's analysis first appeared. In 1949, Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces divided the hero's adventures into the formula: separation, initiation, and return. Campbell, however, does not analyze any one hero's life in its entirety. His pattern is a composite one which draws single incidents from the lives of many heroes. Campbell refers to Rank's study in one footnote, but he does not mention von Hahn, Propp, or Raglan.
A more recent study of the hero pattern is by Dutch folklorist Jan de Vries. De Vries, after referring to von Hahn and Raglan, but not to Rank, Propp, and Campbell, outlines a hero pattern of ten elements: (1) The hero is begotten; (2) He is born; (3) His youth is threatened; (4) He is brought up; (5) He often acquires invulnerability; (6) He fights with the dragon or other monster; (7) He wins a maiden, usually after over-coming great dangers; (8) He makes an expedition to the underworld; (9) He returns to the land from which he was once banished and conquers his enemies: (10) He dies.
The interested reader may wish to compare Raglan's pattern with some of the other hero studies. For von Hahn's early attempt to analyze form, see his Griechische and albanesische Marchen, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1864). The later expulsion and return fold-out faces page 340 in his Sagwissenschaftliche Studien (Jena, Ger., 1876). For Nutt's seldom cited study, see "The Aryan Expulsion-and-Return Formula in the Folk and Hero Tales of the Celts," The Folklore Record, Vol. 4 1881), 1-44. (The illustrative table faces page 42.) Rank's The Myth Of the Birth of the Hero is available in paperback (New York, 1959). Vladimir Propp's Morfologija skazki (Leningrad, 1928) was translated into English in 1958. Propp's Morphology of the Folktale was issued simultaneously during that year as Publication Ten of the Indiana University Research Center in Anthropology, Folklore, and Linguistics; s Part III of the International Journal of American Linguistics, Vol. 24 1958); and as Volume 9 of the Bibliographical and Special Series of he American Folklore Society. Joseph Campbell's study is also available in paperback, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (New York, 956), as is a translation of De Vries' 1959 study. For the De Vries pattern see Heroic Song and Heroic Legend (London, 1963), pp. 210–16. Since Raglan's book The Hero is also in paperback (New York, 956), the student of folklore can acquire an extensive yet inexpensive collection of hero studies for his personal library. For a valuable critique of the Raglan book, see William Bascom's "The Myth-Ritual Theory," Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 70 (1957), 103-14. For a convenient survey of hero pattern studies in which the schemes of von Hahn, Rank, Raglan, Campbell, and Propp are outlined and compared, see Archer Taylor, "The Biographical Pattern in Traditional Narrative," Journal of the Folklore Institute, Vol. 1 (1964), 114-29.

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Subject: RE: Folklore: False Foodrage(89) and the hero formula
From: GUEST,Hilary
Date: 04 Aug 13 - 08:31 AM

False Foodrage is one of the longer ballads I know too. Only Tam Lin and Binnorie are longer. However there are many ballads in Child's collection which have a verse count in the 50s and above. But I really meant that False Foodrage was shorter simply by virtue of being a ballad rather than an epic narrative, which on a whole, tend to be longer than ballads.
Also, our definition of hero is much different than the traditional definition present in oral literature, so he really isn't heroic in our modern sense. I'm guessing that the reason the hero in False Foodrage seems to do so little is that it is an incomplete version of the hero pattern as it ends with his ascendency to the kingdom and marriage and doesn't cover his death. It's only two thirds of the story. It's akin to the King Arthur story covering Arthur's conception through the sword in the stone through his coronation and up to his marriage with Guenivere. It leaves out a whole chunk of his life afterward. It would be interesting to know if this ballad ever had a second part to it.
I learned about the hero pattern in the article called The Hero of Tradition, evidently published in Dundes' book, although I received it as a separate photocopy.
Also, it may have been too controversial for Raglan to put in the article but you'll notice that Jesus also has several of these hero characteristics, more in common with Lord Raglan's study than von Hahn's. I'll put all 22 here for reference.
1) His mother is a royal virgin
2) His father is a king, and
3) Often a near relative of his mother, but
4) The circumstances of his conception are unusual, and
5)He is often reputed to be the son of a god
6)At birth, an attempt is made, often by his father, to kill him, but
7) He is spirited away, and
8) Reared by foster parents in a different country
9) We are told nothing of his childhood, but
10) On reaching manhood, he returns or goes to his future kingdom
11) After a victory over the king and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast,
12) He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor, and
13) Becomes king
14)For a time, he reigns uneventfully, and
15) Prescribes Laws, but
16) Later he loses favor with the gods and/or his subjects
17) Is driven from the throne and city
18) He meets with a mysterious death
19) Often at the top of a hill
20) His children, if any, do not succeed him
21) His body is not buried, but nevertheless,
22) He has one or more holy sepulchers.

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