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Title: The English Scottish Border ballads : a critical study
Author: Kendall, Roger Grant
ISNI:       0000 0001 3597 062X
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 1973
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Critics concerned with the ballad have seldom in the past ventured any sustained analyses of texts and only incidentally have they raised one of the most fundamental questions of all - "what makes a good ballad?" This thesis attempts to answer that question, by close reference to a seemingly homogeneous group of texts, popularly known as "The Border Ballads". Since, however, the term "Border Ballad" has often been misconstrued, a new definition is here advanced, namely that a Border Ballad may be so called if it can be proved to have had an oral genesis and transmission among the singing folk of the English-Scottish Border region, or if its thematic content and referends render it unlikely to have been composed elsewhere. From a study of these themes emerges the Border Ballad's identity as an artistically shaped yet socially motivated narrative type, since besides providing entertainment for the folk, it can also be seen to constitute a testing-ground for their shared ideology. This is at the basis of the Border Ballad's greatness, for its poetic values and dramatic tensions are born of a distinctly regional dilemma - the attempts of an aware minority to come to terms with the Border Problem, a long period of political and economic malaise lasting from the Scottish Wars of Independence until the union of the two kingdoms in 1603. The Border Ballads were in their heyday during this period, and so an attempt has been made to present them chronologically, with careful attention to the difficult problem of dating. Finally, they are shown to be most successful as ballads_ to the extent that they embody the "genius loci", and express through their words and music the life-style of a particular folk community at a crucial moment of its history.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available