British Folklore


    BOTH these books appeared opportunely. Their date of publication falling near the jubilee congress of the Folklore Society, they served to supplement the proceedings of that congress in demonstrating to the general public a broader con ception of the aims and methods of the study of survivals. It is patent from incidental references and the occasional correspondence in the daily press that there is a widespread interest among the public in the vestiges of our popular custom and belief; but there is little evidence of apprecia tion of the fact that these queer practices are worthy of serious study or that their collection or record has any object other than the satisfaction of a curiosity about the past. The collection of facts is indeed of paramount importance, especially when the material is disappearing rapidly before the spread of education and the standardisation of culture which must ultimately obliterate local peculiarities; but it is not the exclusive end of the study, and unless the material acquired is sur veyed periodically on broad lines in relation to the general problems of the science, there is a danger that it may cease to be regarded seriously and fail to attract the public interest and support without which in present conditions scientific research can scarcely maintain its full vigour and attract serious workers. At the recent Folklore Congress, con ditions in England were contrasted with those on the Continent, where, it was pointed out, in various countries chairs in the study of the folk have been established, and it has been introduced into school curricula. But to secure even academic support a study must justify its existence.

    (1) English Folklore.

    By A. R. Wright. (Benn's Sixpenny Library, No. 33.) Pp. 80. (London: Ernest Benn, Ltd., 1928.) 6d.

    (2) Folklore of the British Isles.

    By Eleanor Hull. (Methuen's Anthropological Series.) Pp. xii + 318. (London: Methuen and Co., Ltd., 1928.) 7s. 6d. net.

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    British Folklore. Nature 123, 120–122 (1929).

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