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By Sarah Joanne Davies

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However, corroborative evidence for this assertion is lacking because Lloyd assumes rather than researches the performance context of these particular songs and the social identity of their singers. The retrospective emphasis of this study precludes the possibility of fieldwork. Lloyd accounts for "the 'disconcerting ease' with which young women in the folk songs become pregnant" with recourse to a now discredited theory, proclaiming that rural societies always welcomed extra hands to help with the work (185).

She initially states her belief that "an individual item, process, or body of folklore has analytic potential as a window to the whole tradition" (54). She therefore envisages that the Child ballads will be a microcosm of the genre of folksong as a whole. I would dispute this assertion. Whilst methodological approaches in relation to song can be transferable, findings in relation to a particular collection of material relating to a specific socio-historical context, such as nineteenth-century Scotland, are not.

As we would expect, fieldwork occupies a fairly 18 A similar parallel is drawn between the underlying structural codes of symbolic song in relation to colour and social codes of dress (104). Renwick's argument, however, is equally unconvincing in this respect. 41 central position in this study, which seeks to understand the cognitive processes involved in recognising and appreciating metaphors. Like Renwick, Toelken concludes that "the language of many English folksongs is laced with vernacular metaphors" and that a coherent system of meaning can be clearly identified in songs about sexual/romantic relationships (45).

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An investigation into attitudes towards illegitimate birth as evidenced in the folklore of South West England by Sarah Joanne Davies


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