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Happy! – Jan 21 (Sylvia Wright)

Abby Sale 21 Jan 06 - 10:42 AM
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Subject: Happy! – Jan 21 (Sylvia Wright)
From: Abby Sale
Date: 21 Jan 06 - 10:42 AM

Happy Birthday!

Some very interesting folky people were born today – I have Eaglin, Helfer, Ledbetter, Lomax-Hawes, Weissman.
But we'll concentrate on

Sylvia Wright.

She was born 1/21/1917 in Berkeley, CA.

She contributed but one word to Folkism...

After WWII she worked for the features departement of Harper's Bazaar and later free-lanced for the US Information Service. Wrote such light stuff as "Get Away from Me with Those Christmas Gifts;" 1957 and "A Shark-Infested Rice Pudding" From "Contemporary Authors" [Thanx Ralf-Michael Thilo]

Her extraordinary contribution to the world of Folkery rests in the article "The Death of Lady Mondegreen" in Harper's Magazine in 1954. We think of "Mondegreen" as a very old notion, but folklorists formerly used the term "zersung" for the concept. It indicates that part of the folk process specifically related to a "logical" substitution of words where the originals' sense and sound were both unintelligible. (per HH Flanders) Takes loss of both to make a real Mondegreen.

I've read Wright's article - it's just a simple "fluff" piece, not especially about folk song. Wright, however, created a vital, probably permanent & certainly amusing contribution to Folkishness & Song in general.

        Ye Highlands, and ye lawlands,
        Oh where have ye been?
        They have slain the Earl of Murray,
        And Lady Mondegreen.

                "Bonnie Earl o Murray" (Child #181)

Copyright © 2005, Abby Sale - all rights reserved
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Mudcat time: 27 October 8:10 AM EDT

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