The Chime Child is one of the most enchanting books I know. It begins with the rustle of autumn deep in the Somerset countryside where villagers, mindful of the old ways, have set up a corn dolly for Harvest Festival.
Who are the folk, and what is their lore? Humans have been making and sharing culture from the time we first looked up at the stars and told stories about them, sang a lullaby to a fussy child, or shared a recipe.
British regional folklorists of the 19th century remain, in many cases, rather obscure figures. Margaret Helen James (1859–1938) deserves particular attention for using her writing about folklore to give a voice to ordinary women and critique a patriarchal society, but until 2017 James was completely forgotten.
A story of love, betrayal and impending war became entwined with upheavals that affect the discipline of folklore to this day.
Dr. Lynne S. McNeill explains what folklore is, and what folklorists do.