Ballad and Song

Winter 2016-2017


Elizabeth Helsinger

This course surveys the traffic between popular balladry and “literary” poetry from the Restoration to the twentieth century. We will consider the influence of the 18th century ballad and song revival on Romantic style, from major eighteenth-century ballad collections and forgeries to poems by Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Clare, Tennyson, Rossetti, Morris, and Swinburne; we'll also look at a few examples of later poets' continuing interest in popular ballad and song (from Thomas Hardy, John Davidson, and W. B. Yeats to Tom Pickard). We will spend time in Special Collections examining broadside ballads and popular songbooks, and we will consider how political radicals took up ballad and song in the period. (18th/19th)