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The Spoken Word Stories, Dialects and Celtic Culture (Exhibit Case 12)
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An exhibit of material from the collection of Lewis Becker, Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law. March 13, 2006 – April 28, 2006 Falvey Memorial Library Villanova University

The Spoken Word Stories, Dialects and Celtic Culture (Exhibit Case 12)

Along with the interest in traditional music and song was the concurrent interest in the spoken word as it traditionally existed.  Exhibited in this case are books that illustrate various aspects of this interest.


Hyde, Douglas. Beside the Fire.
London: David Nutt, 1890

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This is a collection of traditional stories and each story is set forth in both English and Irish Gaelic.  Douglas Hyde (1860-1949), an author and poet, was the first president of the Irish Republic (1938-1945).

Carmichael, Alexander. Ortha Nan Gaidheal. Carmina Gadelica. Hymns and Incantations. With illustrative Notes on Words, Rites, and Customs, Dying and Obsolete: Orally connected in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.  6 v.
Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1900 – 1971.

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Images from v. 4

The folklorist Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912) devoted years to collecting examples of traditional Scottish Gaelic lore – religious and secular songs, prayers, invocations, stories, and other material. Carmichael published the first two volumes of his collection in 1900. Volumes 3-4 appeared in 1940-41, edited by J. C. Watson, the collector’s grandson. Volume 5 appeared in 1952 and was edited by Angus Matheson, who also edited Volume 6 (1971).

MacKay, Charles. A Dictionary of Lowland Scotch, with an Introductory Chapter on the Poetry, Humor, and Literary History of the Scottish Language and an Appendix of Scottish Proverbs.
London: Whittaker & Co., 1888

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This is an example of the 19th century’s strong interest in exploring traditional and local speech.

Pegge, Samuel. Two Collections of Derbicisms. Edited with Two Introductions by Skeat and Hallam.
London: English Dialect Society, 1896

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Chapbooks are a particularly intriguing form of popular literature. Cheaply printed and inexpensively priced, they were marketed to and purchased by people who could not afford more expensive published materials. The simplicity of sentiment and, sometimes, the naivete of the illustrations made them widely appealing. Although chapbooks were sometimes devoted to songs, more often they dealt with fairy tales, religious and historical subjects, moral tales, and children’s stories.

Hindley, Charles. History of the Catnach Press at Berwick-upon-Tweed, Alnwick, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Seven Dials London.
London: Charles Hindley (The Younger), 1887

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Ashton, John. Chap-Books of the Eighteenth Century.
London: Chatto & Windus, 1882

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Cheap, John. The Chapman’s Library. The Scottish Chap Literature of Last Century, classified. With a Life of Dougal Graham. 3 v.
Glasgow: Robert Lindsay, 1877-1878

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Images from v. 1

Weiss, Harry B. A Book about Chapbooks.
Hatboro [PA]: Folklore Association, 1969

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Reprint of the 1942 edition which was limited to 100 copies

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