Monday, 23 August 2010

The Imagined Village

Pleased to see that Georgina Boyes' seminal book The Imagined Village: Culture, Ideology and the English Folk Revival has been re-issued. Very interesting stuff (if still showing the scars of being based on a PhD thesis...). This book developes some of the earlier ideas put forward by Dave Harker's book Fakesong: The Manufacture of British Folk Song, 1700 to the Present Day, which critiqued the Sharpian folk-song revival of the early 20th century, arguing that it was essentially that the notion of a 'folk tradition' was a creation of a bourgeois group of middle class collectors. To quote from the blurb from The Imagined Village "Alongside this, however, runs the analysis that The Folk” themselves were a convenient fiction. They and their culture were created and used in the cause of conflicting ideologies – including the Women’s Suffrage movement and British Fascism. Issues of Englishness, class and creativity are all dealt with in this fascinating and controversial history of the Folk, who existed only to sing and dance in an Imagined Village." Ut is worth pointing out that this critique has itself been subjected to a more recent critique- a good review of the debate can be found here

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