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The Lore And Language Of Schoolchildren (NYRB Classics) [Paperback]

Peter Opie , Iona Opie
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: 10.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 April 2001 NYRB Classics
First published in 1959, Iona and Peter Opie's The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren is a pathbreaking work of scholarship that is also a splendid and enduring work of literature. Going outside the nursery, with its assortment of parent-approved entertainments, to observe and investigate the day-to-day creative intelligence and activities of children, the Opies bring to life the rites and rhymes, jokes and jeers, laws, games, and secret spells of what has been called "the greatest of savage tribes, and the only one which shows no signs of dying out."

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Frequently Bought Together

The Lore And Language Of Schoolchildren (NYRB Classics) + The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes (Oxford Dictionary of Nusery Rhymes) + Pop Goes the Weasel: The Secret Meanings of Nursery Rhymes
Price For All Three: 34.73

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Product details

  • Paperback: 488 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics; New Ed edition (1 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0940322692
  • ISBN-13: 978-0940322691
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 12.7 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 235,576 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Iona (born 1923) and Peter Opie (1918-1982) began their research together in 1944. Fifteen years later, they published The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren and took their places as, to quote The Guardian, "the supreme archivists of the folklore movement." Since that time, they have jointly published The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, The Classic Fairy Tales, and Children's Game in Street and Playground. Since Peter Opie's death in 1982, Iona Opie has carried on with their work under his name as well as her own.

Marina Warner is a writer of fiction, criticism, and history. Her award-winning studies of mythology and fairy tales include Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary, From the Beast to the Blonde, and No Go the Bogeyman. In 2006 she published Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors, and Media, a study of ghosts, phantasms, and technology. Her most recent work of fiction is the novel The Leto Bundle. A Fellow of the British Academy, she is also Professor of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THE scraps of lore which children learn from each other are at once more real, more immediately serviceable, and more vastly entertaining to them than anything which they learn from grown-ups. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars forgotten games 11 Mar 2006
This book brings back all the memories of childhood and school playgrounds. Remember the one about Adam and Eve and Nip-me-Well or any other version, well they are all in there. The Opie's went around the UK in the 1950's collecting rhymes, games, riddles - all the little bits of speech that we as adults forget. As well as being an anthology, the authors provide an insight to the history of these games as well as some discussion as to the ways the children use them - obviously rhymes can be used to tease as well as please. Readers of today should also be aware that this book was written in the 1950's and as such contains both out of date material, and perhaps somewhat controversial jokes. Overall, however, this book is a gem.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A child's world before television 3 Feb 2012
By Peasant TOP 100 REVIEWER
Finished in 1959, this study preserves the culture of the playground, handed down from older child to younger child with no adult interference for hundreds of years, before the lowest common denominator of television eroded its separate, hidden distinctiveness. No doubt much has survived till the present day, but only those fresh from the playground will know; adults lose this suddenly-obsolete body of folklore, social behaviour and superstition very rapidly when they hit adolescence.

Fossilised in the closed world of children, medieval superstition, eighteenth century political satire and music hall ribaldry blend seemlessly into a new cadre of rhyme and nonsense featuring the stars of film and radio, the skits of wartime humour and the politics of the day, all garbled through the half-comprehending medium of the child's eye view. It is a fascinating, sprawling body of material.

The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, along with other work by the Opies, set the standard for a new type of inward-looking anthroplogy. It is no surprise, therefore, that it is a turgid read at times. The authors are concerned that their apparently trivial subject should be accepted with the seriousness which it undoubtedly merited. Any sparkle in the book comes from the loopy daftness of the rhymes and the pure gold of the unedited child voice. I do not know that the book could have been produced differently at the time, but it isn't something you could sit down and read from cover to cover for pleasure unless you were unusually sober in your tastes. For most readers, better to dip in and out.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 25 Nov 2013
By Nozzy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The history and origins of the rhymes/sayings are really interesting and so are the regional differences. Husband and I are from different parts of this country and have compared what we used in those 'long ago' school days. A fascinating book, but not one you could read from cover to cover! As another reviewer says, probably best to dip in and out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic 25 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a classic book in the field of children's folklore. My paperback copy, purchased in 1969, is falling to pieces from regular use. What better way to celebrate the 90th birthday of Iona Opie this month than to invest in a hardback edition?
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