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History and the Morris Dance: A Look at Morris Dancing from Its Earliest Days Until 1850 [Paperback]

Dr. John Cutting
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 12.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

19 Nov 2005
In the middle of the 1970s, a storm swept through the world of Morris: women had started to dance what, up to then, had been widely considered to be a men-only tradition. John Cutting had joined Herga Morris in 1972 and was thus a newcomer at the time, and he was both surprised and curious at the strength of the emotions aroused. His long-standing interest in history was triggered and the seeds that grew into this book were planted. What, then, was this Morris tradition? Was it entertainment? Was it some mystical rite? Or was it somewhere halfway between? Where did it come from and how old is it? This book attempts to separate fact from fantasy and to answer some of these questions.

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History and the Morris Dance: A Look at Morris Dancing from Its Earliest Days Until 1850 + The History of Morris Dancing, 1458-1750 (Studies in Early English Drama)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Dance Books Ltd (19 Nov 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852731087
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852731083
  • Product Dimensions: 15.6 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 564,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
By Steve Mansfield VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
John Cutting has written a discursive and enlightening history of the Morris from its first definite sightings (1458 is the key date to remember) through to 1850, when documented living memory could be said to have taken over the mantle of preserving the story.

As a dancer and an obvious devotee of the Morris, his approach is that of the expert amateur, gently mocking some of the more obtuse academic analyses while not afraid to defeat some of the more fantastical claims of pre-Christian ritual survival by holding them up to the actual evidence.

He treads much the same path as John Forrest's book of a few years ago, examining the verifiable records and the evidence and attempting to strip away myth and conjecture; but Cutting approaches the material with a much less rigidly academic approach, a practitioner's standpoint verging at times on the self-deprecating (`I, for my part, intend no more than a light skip across the quicksand' he says at one point of particular controversy).

The book examines documents, etymology, pictorial evidence, the links between the Morris and the emerging arts of masques and drama, and many other facets of the story.

This is an entertaining, highly readable, and affectionate addition to the Morris bibliography.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History and the Morris dance 8 Jan 2014
By cLo3k
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bought this for a Morris dancing brother-in- law.He was really pleased with itI didn't read it,so can only report what he said.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'must' 23 Sep 2006
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Is Morris dance heritage mysticism, dance, or entertainment? It's long been shrouded in mystery, and research John Cutting spent some thirty years dancing, teaching and researching the Morris dance from its roots until 1850: HISTORY AND THE MORRIS DANCE: A LOOK AT MORRIS DANCING FROM ITS EARLIEST DAYS UNTIL 1850 follows its evolution and answers many questions. A 'must' for any college-level dance history holding.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cutting answers the questions 9 Nov 2013
By renew - Published on Amazon.com
I am writing a history of the Morris dance side I belong to. I have always been mystified by the numerous explanations of the origin of the word "Morris". This is not to say that some scholars have not attempted to answer the questions. In one source the diligence of the writer in tracing the "earliest" known reference to Morris dancing is prodigious. However, John Cutting has taken a different pathway, starting with English history as the backdrop - reference framework and placed Morris in that context. He asks his reader "are you confused?" at one point. It is a confusion. But the outcome for me was a much broader knowledge from this meticulous writer.
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