The History of Morris Dancing, 1438-1750
Published: December 1999© 1999
456 Pages, 6.41 x 9.28 x 1.43 in
Morris dancing, one of the more peculiar of the English folk customs, has been greatly misunderstood. Traditional scholarship on this custom has been based on the assumption that morris dancing is one of the pagan calendar rituals, a preconception held by many folklorists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Now, building upon his previous work with Michael Heaney of the Bodleian Library in Annals of Early Morris, John Forrest carefully analyses a wealth of evidence to show that morris dancing does not, in fact have pagan or ancient origins. His examination of early documentation draws morris traditions into the wider area of communal customs and public celebrations, showing the passage of dance ideas between groups of people who until now have been considered folklorically distinct.
Careful, detailed, and encyclopedic, The History of Morris Dancing, 1458-1750 is an essential reference work for specialists in English drama and social historians of the period.