Rhetoric Summary

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Many look at the subject of history as sifting through facts and personal accounts to uncover the events of the past. However, history is more than dry facts. History often intertwines with culture to give a more well-rounded view of particular places and people. In the nineteenth century, nationalism began to take hold in Europe. While it might be common to think of nationalism in terms of revolt, nationalism also served as a unifying force through cultural elements, such as folklore. Individuals from around the world began collecting folk tales, songs, and dances that contributed to the centralization of nationalistic movements that created independent nations. One such collector was Francis James Child, an American Professor of Rhetoric…show more content…
Upon his return to Boston, he became the Professor of Oratory and Rhetoric at Harvard before altering his concentration to English studies, where he became the first English Professor at Harvard.5 He was also a leading scholar on Middle Ages English poet and writer, Geoffrey Chaucer.6 Child truly loved language, old tales, and poetry, which…show more content…
Folklore was directly connected with Romantic nationalism, because it embodies “the traditional elements of the way of life of a group of people and the creative expressions developing naturally as a part of this way of life.”14 Tangible cultural artifacts such as stories, dances, ballads, and hand crafts reveal general beliefs of particular groups.15Child embodied the Romantic nationalism movement. When Child recorded the English and Scottish Popular Ballads, he specifically wrote in the vernacular and dialect of the groups where he collected the stories and songs. Also, “his bibliography lists over fifty manuscripts in addition to several hundred printed collections. For each ballad, he included every version he knew of. He preceded each ballad with a note explaining its origin and its parallels in world literature, referencing texts in over forty languages.”16 Child researched manuscripts from England and Scotland, particularly “old manuscripts that had transcribed the words of actual singers before cheap printing had allowed corruptions to creep into the texts. To retain the authenticity of the ballads, he planned to use only works orally transmitted by uneducated people.”17 Additionally, Child sought both advice and aid from scholarly communities located in Britain and North America, especially Child’s fellow Harvard scholars during
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