One of the Spectator's Books of the Year 2012 'Farewell and adieu to you fair Spanish ladies Farewell and adieu to you ladies of Spain For we've received orders for to sail for old England But we hope in a short while to see you again' One of the great English popular art forms, the folk song can be painful, satirical, erotic, dramatic, rueful or funny. They have thrived when sung on a whim to a handful of friends in a pub; they have bewitched generations of English composers who have set them for everything from solo violin to full orchestra; they are sung in concerts, festivals, weddings, funerals and with nobody to hear but the singer. This magical new collection brings together all the classic folk songs as well as many lesser-known discoveries, complete with music and annotations on their original sources and meaning. Published in cooperation with the English Folk Dance and Song Society, it is a worthy successor to Ralph Vaughan Williams and A.L.Lloyd's original Penguin Book of English Folk Songs. 'Her keen eye did glitter like the bright stars by night The robe she was wearing was costly and white Her bare neck was shaded with her long raven hair And they called her pretty Susan, the pride of Kildare' In association with EFDSS, the English Folk Dance and Song Society
English Folk Songs
Author: Ralph Vaughan Williams
Publisher: Penguin UK
This collection is filled with songs that tell of the pleasures and pains of love, the patterns of the countryside and the lives of ordinary people. Here are unfaithful soldiers, ghostly lovers, whalers on stormy seas, cuckolds and tricksters. By turns funny, plain-speaking and melancholic, these songs evoke a lost world and, with their melodies provided, record a vital musical tradition. Generations of inhabitants have helped shape the English countryside - but it has profoundly shaped us too.It has provoked a huge variety of responses from artists, writers, musicians and people who live and work on the land - as well as those who are travelling through it.English Journeys celebrates this long tradition with a series of twenty books on all aspects of the countryside, from stargazey pie and country churches, to man's relationship with nature and songs celebrating the patterns of the countryside (as well as ghosts and love-struck soldiers).
The Penguin Book of English Song anthologizes the work of 100 English poets who have inspired a host of different composers (some English, some not) to write vocal music. Each of the chapters, arranged chronologically from Chaucer to Auden, opens with a precis of the poet's life, work and, often, approach to music. Richard Stokes's notes and commentaries constantly illuminate the language and themes of the poems and their settings in unexpected ways. An awareness of how Ben Jonson based his famous poem 'Drinke to me, onely, with thine eyes' on a Greek original, for example, increases our enjoyment of both the poem and the traditional song; knowledge of Thomas Hardy's relationships with women deepens our appreciation of songs by Ireland, Finzi, Britten and others; Charles Dibdin's 'Tom Bowling', played each year at the Last Night of the Proms, takes on a deeper resonance when we know that it was written after the death of his brother Tom, a sea captain struck by lightning in the Indian Ocean. Many composers of different nationalities appear, but the book remains quintessentially British, and includes pieces that have an established place in our national consciousness: 'Rule, Britannia' (James Thomson), 'Abide with me' (Henry Francis Lyte), 'Auld lang syne' (Robert Burns), 'Jerusalem' (William Blake), 'Once in royal David's city' (Mrs C. F. Alexander), and even 'Twinkle, twinkle, little star' (Jane Taylor). The poems are printed in their original versification and spelling, enabling us to trace the development of the English language as the book progresses. The volume presents a huge amount of information about English Song that will enlighten all those who delight in the fusion of words and music. The presence of minor as well as major poets and the unique principle of selection make The Penguin Book of English Song a highly original anthology of English verse.
Folk Song in England
Author: Steve Roud
Publisher: Faber & Faber
In Victorian times, England was famously dubbed the land without music - but one of the great musical discoveries of the early twentieth century was that England had a vital heritage of folk song and music which was easily good enough to stand comparison with those of other parts of Britain and overseas. Cecil Sharp, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Percy Grainger, and a number of other enthusiasts gathered a huge harvest of songs and tunes which we can study and enjoy at our leisure. But after over a century of collection and discussion, publication and performance, there are still many things we don't know about traditional song - Where did the songs come from? Who sang them, where, when and why? What part did singing play in the lives of the communities in which the songs thrived? More importantly, have the pioneer collectors' restricted definitions and narrow focus hindered or helped our understanding? This is the first book for many years to investigate the wider social history of traditional song in England, and draws on a wide range of sources to answer these questions and many more.
This anthology is in many was a ‘best of the best’, containing gems from thirty-four of Britain's outstanding contemporary writers. It is a book to dip into, to read from cover to cover, to lend to friends and read again. It includes stories of love and crime, stories touched with comedy and the supernatural, stories set in London, Los Angeles, Bucharest and Tokyo. Above all, as you will discover, it satisfies Samuel Butler's anarchic pleasure principle: 'I should like to like Schumann's music better than I do; I daresay I could make myself like it better if I tried; but I do not like having to try to make myself like things; I like things that make me like them at once and no trying at all ...'
The English Year
Author: Steve Roud
Publisher: Penguin UK
This enthralling book will take you, month-by-month, day-by-day, through all the festivities of English life. From national celebrations such as New Year’s Eve to regional customs such as the Padstow Hobby Horse procession, cheese rolling in Gloucestershire and Easter Monday bottle kicking in Leeds, it explains how they originated, what they mean and when they occur. A fascinating guide to the richness of our heritage and the sometimes eccentric nature of life in England, The English Year offers a unique chronological view of our social customs and attitudes
The Romanticism that emerged after the American and French revolutions of 1776 and 1789 represented a new flowering of the imagination and the spirit, and a celebration of the soul of humanity with its capacity for love. This extraordinary collection sets the acknowledged genius of poems such as Blake's 'Tyger', Coleridge's 'Khubla Khan' and Shelley's 'Ozymandias' alongside verse from less familiar figures and women poets such as Charlotte Smith and Mary Robinson. We also see familiar poets in an unaccustomed light, as Blake, Wordsworth and Shelley demonstrate their comic skills, while Coleridge, Keats and Clare explore the Gothic and surreal.
Author: Kerry Andrew
Publisher: Random House
In this stunningly assured, immersive and vividly atmospheric first novel, a young woman comes face-to-face with the volatile, haunted wilderness of the Scottish Highlands. Polly Vaughan is trying to escape the ravaging guilt of a disturbing incident in London by heading north to the Scottish Highlands. As soon as she arrives, this spirited, funny, alert young woman goes looking for drink, drugs and sex – finding them all quickly, and unsatisfactorily, with the barman in the only pub. She also finds a fresh kind of fear, alone in this eerie, myth-drenched landscape. Increasingly prone to visions or visitations – floating white shapes in the waters of the loch or in the woods – she is terrified and fascinated by a man she came across in the forest on her first evening, apparently tearing apart a bird. Who is this strange loner? And what is his sinister secret? Kerry Andrew is a fresh new voice in British fiction; one that comes from a deep understanding of the folk songs, mythologies and oral traditions of these islands. Her powerful metaphoric language gives Swansong a charged, hallucinatory quality that is unique, uncanny and deeply disquieting.
Author: Italo Calvino
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Retells two hundred traditional Italian tales, including the stories of a fearless little man, a prince who married a frog, and a woman who lived on wind
Author: Sarma, Visnu
Publisher: Penguin Books India
The Panchatantra started travelling from the land of its origin before 570 AD, as a version in 'Pehlevi'. Since then 200 versions have been executed in 50 languages.
Are black cats lucky or unlucky? What should you do when you hear the first cuckoo? Since when have people believed that it's unlucky to shoot an albatross? Why does breaking a mirror lead to misfortune? This fascinating collection answers these and many other questions about the world of superstitions and forms an endlessly browsable guide to a subject that continues to obsess and intrigue.
A wonderfully wicked new anthology from the editor of The Penguin Book of Gaslight Crime It is the Victorian era and society is both entranced by and fearful of that suspicious character known as the New Woman. She rides those new- fangled bicycles and doesn't like to be told what to do. And, in crime fiction, such female detectives as Loveday Brooke, Dorcas Dene, and Lady Molly of Scotland Yard are out there shadowing suspects, crawling through secret passages, fingerprinting corpses, and sometimes committing a lesser crime in order to solve a murder. In The Penguin Book of Victorian Women in Crime, Michael Sims has brought together all of the era's great crime-fighting females- plus a few choice crooks, including Four Square Jane and the Sorceress of the Strand.
In smoky rooms above pubs, bare rooms with battered stools and beer-stained tables, where the stage was little more than a scrap of carpet and sound systems were unheard of, an acoustic revolution took place in Britain in the 1950s and '60s. This was the folk revival, where a generation of musicians, among much drink and raucous cheer, would rediscover the native songs of their own tradition, as well as the folk and blues coming from across the Atlantic by artists such as Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie and Big Bill Broonzy. Singing from the Floor is the story of this remarkable movement, faithfully captured in the voices of those who formed it by JP Bean. We hear from luminaries such as Shirley Collins, Martin Carthy, Peggy Seeger and Ralph McTell, alongside figures such as Billy Connolly, Jasper Carrott and Mike Harding, who all started their careers on the folk circuit. The book charts the revival's improvised beginnings and its ties to the CND movement, through the heyday of the '60s and '70s, when every university, town and many villages across the country boasted a folk club, to the fallow years of the '80s and '90s. The book finishes on a high note, with the recent resurgence of interest in folk, through such artists as the Lakemans, Sam Lee and Eliza Carthy. It is a joyous, boisterous and hugely entertaining book, and an essential document of our recent history stretching into the past.
The first Penguin anthology of Japanese haiku, in vivid new translations by Adam L. Kern. Now a global poetry, the haiku was originally a Japanese verse form that flourished from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. Although renowned for its brevity, usually running three lines long in seventeen syllables, and by its use of natural imagery to make Zen-like observations about reality, in fact the haiku is much more: it can be erotic, funny, crude and mischievous. Presenting over a thousand exemplars in vivid and engaging translations, this anthology offers an illuminating introduction to this widely celebrated, if misunderstood, art form. Adam L. Kern's new translations are accompanied here by the original Japanese and short commentaries on the poems, as well as an introduction and illustrations from the period.