The sensational content of folk ballads makes them especially attractive to young adults. In this fascinating study of folk ballads and their evolution, you’ll explore various renditions of such popular songs as Frankie and Johnny, Stagolee, Pretty Polly, and Barbara Allen, as well as lesser known ballads (e.g., Lord Thomas and Fair Annet, Twa Sisters, and King Orfeo). You’ll learn about the origins of the stories, how they have developed and changed over time, traveled throughout countries and across oceans, and ultimately evolved into literary forms, such as poetry, novels, and graphic novels, many of which are directed at young adults. Citing numerous critical interpretations and commentary, this book offers great insight into this genre of popular folk literature.
After an introduction to the form and its place in history, the author explores various types of ballads (e.g., child ballads, border ballads, broadside ballads). An examination of modern and contemporary re-workings of ballads, organized by themes, comprises the heart of the book. Ballad types covered include: tragic love stories, murder ballads, otherworld beings, tricks and disguises, and ballads from other cultures. Oral origins and history, critical interpretations, re-workings, and current recordings are included for each ballad; along with a list of resources.