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Birth, Marriage, and Death

Introduction

Key stages in the life cycle are often represented in folklore. For this seminar, we will divide into three groups: one will focus on birth customs, one will focus on marriage customs, and one will focus on death customs.

Seminar Questions

How have birth customs developed across the British Isles?

How have marriage customs developed across the British Isles?

How have death customs developed across the British Isles?

Required Reading
Birth Customs

Bennett, Margaret, ed., Scottish Customs: From the Cradle to the Grave (Edinburgh, 1992), Part I.

Brand, John, Observations on Popular Antiquities: Chiefly Illustrating the Origin of our Vulgar Customs, Ceremonies and Superstitions, ed. Henry Ellis, 2 vols (London, 1813), Vol. 2, pp. 1-18.

Cressy, David, Birth, Marriage, and Death: Ritual, Religion, and the Life-Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England (Oxford, 1999), Chapters 1-9 [Divide these between the group]

Delay, Cara, 'Women, Childbirth Customs and Authority in Ireland, 1850-1930', Lilith: A Feminist History Journal 21 (2015), 6-18.

Marriage Customs

Bennett, Margaret, ed., Scottish Customs: From the Cradle to the Grave (Edinburgh, 1992), Part II.

Brand, John, Observations on Popular Antiquities: Chiefly Illustrating the Origin of our Vulgar Customs, Ceremonies and Superstitions, ed. Henry Ellis, 2 vols (London, 1813), Vol. 2, pp. 20-121.

Cressy, David, Birth, Marriage, and Death: Ritual, Religion, and the Life-Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England (Oxford, 1999), Chapters 10-16 [Divide these between the group]

Humphreys, Margaret, 'Gender Relationships, Matching, and Marriage Customs in an Irish Rural Community', Folk Life 48:1 (2010), 13-34.

Death Customs

Bennett, Margaret, ed., Scottish Customs: From the Cradle to the Grave (Edinburgh, 1992), Part III.

Brand, John, Observations on Popular Antiquities: Chiefly Illustrating the Origin of our Vulgar Customs, Ceremonies and Superstitions, ed. Henry Ellis, 2 vols (London, 1813), Vol. 2, pp. 122-215.

Cressy, David, Birth, Marriage, and Death: Ritual, Religion, and the Life-Cycle in Tudor and Stuart England (Oxford, 1999), Chapters 17-20 [Divide these between the group]

Lysaght, Patricia. “Visible Death: Attitudes to the Dying in Ireland', Merveilles & Contes 9: 1 (1995), 27–60.

Further Reading

Evans, E. Estyn, Irish Folk Ways (1957; rept. New York, 2000)

Gennep, Arnold van, The Rites of Passage, trans. Monika B. Vizedom and Gabrielle L. Caffee, introduction by Solon T. Kimball (Chicago, 1960)

Hole, Christina, A Dictionary of British Folk Customs (Oxford, 1995)

Kingshill, Sophia, and Jennifer Westwood, The Fabled Coast: Legends and Traditions from Around the Shores of Britain and Ireland (London, 2014)

Laurence, Anne, 'The Cradle to the Grave: English Observations of Irish Social Customs in the Seventeenth Century', The Seventeenth Century 3: 1 (1988), 63-84.

Lee, Christina, Feasting the Dead: Food and Drink in Anglo-Saxon Burial Rituals (Woodbridge, 2007)

Lindahl, Carl, John McNamara and John Lindow, eds, Medieval Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs, 2 vols (Oxford, 2000)

Llewellyn, Nigel, The Art of Death: Visual Culture in the English Death Ritual, c. 1500-c. 1800 (London, 1991)

Ó hÓgáin, Dáithí, The Lore of Ireland: An Encyclopaedia of Myth, Legend and Romance (Woodbridge, 2006)

Owen, Trefor M., Welsh Folk Customs (Cardiff, 1959)

Simpson, Jacqueline, and Steve Roud, A Dictionary of English Folklore (Oxford, 2003)

Strange, Julie-Marie, Death, Grief and Poverty in Britain, 1870-1914 (Cambridge, 2010)

Tarlow, Sarah, Ritual, Belief, and the Dead in Early Modern Britain and Ireland (Cambridge, 2010)

Westwood, Jennifer, and Jacqueline Simpson, The Lore of the Land: A Guide to England's Legends, from Spring-Heeled Jack to the Witches of Warboys (Harmondsworth, 2005)

Westwood, Jennifer, and Sophia Kingshill, The Lore of Scotland: A Guide to Scottish Legends (London, 2009)

Williams, Howard, Death and Memory in Early Medieval Britain (Cambridge, 2006)

Wilson, Adrian, Ritual and Conflict: The Social Relations of Childbirth in Early Modern England (Farnham, 2013), Chapter Four.

A. W. Cutler, Straw Boys, Ireland, 1922.

A. W. Cutler, Straw Boys, Ireland, 1922.