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The Remunerated Vernacular Singer

From Medieval England to the Post-War Revival


Andrew C. Rouse

This volume studies the status and reception of the professional, semi-professional and amateur singer in England from the earliest time for which records are available, the later Middle Ages, up to the present. It also offers a principled examination of their songs and why particular songs were taken into singers’ repertoires while others remained printed street ballads without ever becoming part of the oral tradition. The structure is broadly chronological, although the nature of evidence from oral and ephemeral sources makes this impossible to adhere to strictly.
Contents: An Embarkation – «I saw her through a whummil bore» - Soap-box Operas of the Middle Ages? – From Minstrel to Ballad-Singer: Social Change and the Vernacular Singer in the Sixteenth Century – William Hogarth and the Street Singer of the 18th Century – Maritime and Military Matters – The Factory Lass, the Serving Maid, and the Farm Labourer – The Remains of the Revival: Post-War English Vernacular Singers and their Politics.