London: George Redway, 1886.
First Edition. Hardcover. Evelyn Lillian Haseldine Carrington, Countess Martinengo-Cesaresco (1852-1931), folklorist, historian, and author of this study of folk-songs, which, after its later publication as a cheap Everyman's Edition, became one of the most widely distributed works of folk-song scholarship in the Victorian era. This first edition collects many of the Countess' articles published in such periodicals as Folklore, Cornhill Magazine, and Fraser’s Magazine throughout the 1880s. Martinengo-Cesaresco's work often exhibited an activist sensibility; in his article "The Padrona of Folksongs: Biography of Evelyn Carrington, Countess Martinengo-Cesaresco," University of Oxford's David Hopkin cites the Countess' publication of Greek folksongs as a means of supporting Greek liberation from Italian occupation, which, he writes, "illustrates a key element of her interest in folk song: it was the voice of the people not so much in a social sense, but in a national sense. A nation was united by the songs it shared, and which evoked its national epic." Martinengo-Cesaresco also stood out for her literary approach to the study of folklore, especially as compared to mythological and anthropoligical approaches; this literary sensibility was much appreciated by Oscar Wilde, who reviewed Essays in the Study of Folk-Songs for the Pall Mall Gazette: "...it is really delightful to come across a book that deals with the subject simply as literature." This is an admittedly worn but still quite lovely and complete 1886 first edition of the work of an important female figure in the study of folk-songs, the Countess Evelyn Martinengo-Cesaresco.
Chapters include: The Inspiration of Death in Folk-Poetry; Nature in Folk-Songs; Armenian Folk-Songs; Venetian Folk-Songs; Sicilian Folk-Songs; Greek Songs of Calabria; Folk-Songs of Provence; The White Paternoster; The Diffusion of Ballads; Song for the Rite of May; The Idea of Fate in Southern Traditions; Folk-Lullabies; Folk-Dirges, along with an introduction by the author and a list of books for reference.
8" X 5 1/2". xl, 395pp, plus 38pp ads, plus 1pp index. Green cloth over boards, with cover and spine lettered in gilt with gilt clover decorations. Heavy wear to binding, with gilt to spine rubbed and dimmed, hard bumping to edges and extremities, and light soiling to cloth. Hinges starting to crack, with tear to paper over gutters and hint of spine visible at some pages. Binding remains quite sound. Foxing to preliminary pages, with occasional pencilled notation. Good. Item #7336