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Today, I am going to present to you a summary of the story by Edward D. Ives. The story is called The Oral and Written Tradition: A Micro-View from Miramichi. To present the material, I will, firstly, give you the background of the story, and then I will try to list the methods and the results of the folklorist’s work which the story describes.
So, the central theme of the text The Oral and Written Tradition: A Micro-View from Miramichi by Edward D. Ives is the folklorist’s work and his attempts of collecting the songs in the region of the Miramichi River. The narrator of the story tells us that he has just finished his doctoral work in folklore at Indiana University and has received a small grant for the collection and research of the folk songs (Ives n.pag.).
He starts on his journey to the Chatham Head located just across the Miramichi River (Ives n.pag.). The region has been chosen by him due to the lumbering traditions which have been widely spread there. Presumably, folk songs reflect the traditional occupation of the local people. During his visit, he has attended the local song festival and has gotten acquainted with the local singers and songwriters.
The Methods Of Songs Collection
Now I am going to describe the methods of songs collection employed by the narrator. First of all, it should be said that he has collected the songs by the fieldwork.
It means that he has had an opportunity to communicate with local people and to obtain some interesting facts about their folk songs. Secondly, he has tried to hear as more songs as he can and to pick some for the detailed study. And finally, he has typed the most interesting songs and compared their different versions.
The Song Research
I want to focus your attention on one song which the narrator analyzed profoundly. Its name is Pretty Polly. The song has awakened his interest for both reasons: its lyrics and the different versions.
The lyrics tells “about a young woman who rode off with a man who, when they came to a river, told her he was going to drawn her…he said to her to take off her clothes; she told him to look the other way, and, when he did, she threw him into the stream and rode back home alone” (Ives n.pag.).
The song has been heard by the narrator in two versions performed by the two different men. The second version heard has been the most interesting for him.
He asked a performer to dictate the lyrics stanza by stanza. After typing the lyrics, the narrator has analyzed it thoroughly. He tried to answer such questions as to when this version originated, where the performer heard it and had the differences in versions been invented by the performer (Ives n.pag.).
Now I am going to summarize the main points of the story by Edward D. Ives. The first and most important point is the collection of folk songs by the fieldwork. The second one is the peculiarities of the folklore of the Miramichi River region. And the last point is the song research undertaken by the narrator of the story. Thank you for your attention.
Ives, Edward D. ” The Oral and Written Tradition: A Micro-View from Miramichi.” Journal of the History of the Atlantic Region. 18.1 (1988):n.pag. Journals.hil.unb.ca. Web. 5 Nov. 2013.