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New York Folklore Quarterly, Vol. XX, No. 4, December 1964

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NEW YORK FOLKLORE QUARTERLY
Vol. XX, No. 4, December, 1964

THE FOLKLORE SCENE

“THE MAN WHO MADE THE SONGS”

Two recent works on Northeast folklore—one a study in folk poetry and the other a novel of Iroquois gods and heroes—are notable for the imaginative treatment as well as the imaginative quality of their material.

In Larry Gorman, The Man Who Made the Songs, Edward D. Ives, of the University of Maine, has produced a fascinating study of the life and work of a folk poet of Maine and the Maritimes, in line with the new biographical trend in folksong studies. (E.g., Ellen Stekert’s work in progress on the New York ex-lumberjack, Ezra Barheit, and Archie Green’s bio-bibliography of Aunt Molly Jackson.)

The book proceeds on three levels: (1) the story of the man and his legend, in seven biographical and five critical chapters; (2) the story of each song, in the context ot the place and circumstances of its writing; (3) the light shed by Gorman’s career on such questions as what is a folk poet and the relation of an individual song-writer’s productions to oral tradition and folksong origins. The biographical framework of the quest for Larry Gorman is the basis of a personal narrative relating the author’s quest for the songs; and the data are enlivened by the use of anecdotes which are the stuff of the songs and the quest. The result is something new and fresh that promises well for the new generation of folksong scholars....


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