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Francis James Child
Francis James Child, a-ponderin'


Francis James Child was a Harvard Professor in the late 19th century, whose hobby of collecting folk song lyrics became a life-long obsession.  He would eventually publish a multi-volume collection of 305 folk songs (several of which have more than 100 verses) along with notes on their historical content, lyrics, and alternate versions.  Many of these songs would likely have been lost if it weren't for his zeal in this project.

The songs he collected are those that were popular enough to survive generations of we "the folk"!  Not surprisingly, they are overwhelmingly war stories, "bodice rippers", and true-crime novels in ballad form.  Listening to them is an education in murder, incest, battle, true love (its tests, trials, and deaths), false love (its schemes and plots),
...basically the ways in which you can scheme, love, fight, and die.

What if people actually tried to live by the mores represented in this sensationalistic distillation?

                    Welcome to:

Child Book

Lessons learned while reading the ballad collection of Francis James Child.

by David Kessler

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