Ballads, Songs and Snatches: The Appropriation of Folk Song and Popular Culture in British 19th-Century Realist Prose, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Ballads, Songs and Snatches

The Appropriation of Folk Song and Popular Culture in British 19th-Century Realist Prose, 1st Edition

By C.M. Jackson-Houlston


240 pages

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As a book on allusion, this has interest for both the traditional literary or cultural historian and for the modern student of textuality and readership positions. It focuses on allusion to folksong, and, more tangentially, to popular culture, areas which have so far been slighted by literary critics. In the nineteenth century many authors attempted to mediate the culture(s) of the working classes for the enjoyment of their predominantly middle-class audiences. In so doing they took songs out of their original social and musical contexts and employed a variety of strategies which - consciously or unconsciously - romanticised, falsified or denigrated what the novels or stories claimed to represent. In addition, some writers who were well-informed about the cultures they described used allusion to song as a covert system of reference to topics such as sexuality and the criticism of class and gender relations which it was difficult to discuss directly.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Scott: Scott’s audiences, knowledge and inclinations; Scott and false intertexts; Scott's use of allusion to traditional song; Scott’s Contemporaries: Galt and Hogg; Mitford; Scott’s Legacy, and Three Muscular Christians: Mid-Nineteenth-century novelists; Borrow; Kingsley; Hughes; Gaskell; Dickens and Thackeray: Some new contexts; Dickens: a withdrawal from narrative commitment; Thackeray, popular song and gender politics; Jefferies; Hardy: Hardy’s background and musical milieux; Church bands; Traditional dance and song; Conclusion; Appendices: The song sequence in Redgauntlet; Hardy's collection of 'Country Songs of 1820 Onwards’; Bibliography; Index.

About the Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series

The Nineteenth Century Series aims to develop and promote new approaches and fresh directions in scholarship and criticism on nineteenth-century literature and culture. The series encourages work which erodes the traditional boundary between Romantic and Victorian studies and welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to the literary, religious, scientific and visual cultures of the period. While British literature and culture are the core subject matter of monographs and collections in the series,  the editors encourage proposals which explore the wider, international contexts of nineteenth-century literature – transatlantic, European and global.  Print culture, including studies in the newspaper and periodical press, book history, life writing and gender studies are particular strengths of this established series as are high quality single author studies.  The series also embraces research in the field of digital humanities. The editors invite proposals from both younger and established scholars in all areas of nineteenth-century literary studies. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature