The Folklore Historian
American Folklore Society
Terre Haute, Indiana
What can I possibly say that can add to the huge body of commentary on this man, the hochgecelebrated Francis James Child? Not much, I'm afraid. He has all but been canonized by some, demonized by others. H singlehandedly saved the ballad from oblivion; he is the source of our major ballad-study problems. He had an instinct that told him what was a ballad, what was not; he had no theoretical underpinning for his choices. His great collection is lhe beginning of all our wisdom; his great collection rides us like the Old Man of the Mountains, weighing us down, holding us back, stifling us. Have it how you will, or have it in between somewhere, it is still true that even his most outspoken critics stand hat in hand before they launch their respectful attacks. The man and his work are twin colossi in the field of ballad study.
Ives, Edward D., "Francis James Child: Some Thoughts While Shaving" (1997). Dr. Edward D. Ives Papers. 12.
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