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The Days That We Have Seen [Paperback]

George Ewart Evans

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Book Description

29 May 2008

George Ewart Evans's pioneer work in oral history has been widely acclaimed; the importance of this source of historical knowledge has long been recognized both in this country and the United States. In The Days That We Have Seen (Faber, 1975) he shows the way in which oral history works and illustrates his point by printing some exceptionally valuable recorded talks by old men and women in East Anglian villages, whose tools and customs - and indeed whose ways of speech, which often survived from the times of Shakespeare and even Chaucer - repeated what had been familiar to many generations before them.

The use of common land hardly changed for centuries. Who today understands the importance of hay in the farm economy, when we are concerned with a different sort of fuel? The author also investigates the activities of those who went to sea: the herring industry, farm workers who became sailors after the harvest, and migratory labour from Scotland.

As fascinating to the general reader as it is valuable to the historian, the book is imaginatively illustrated throughout with photographs and black and white line drawings.


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About the Author

Born in the mining town of Abercynon, South Wales, George Ewart Evans (1909-88) was a pioneering oral historian. In 1948 he settled with his family in Blaxhall, Suffolk, and through conversing with his neighbours he developed an interest in their dialect and the aspects of rural life which they described. Many were agricultural labourers, born before the turn of the century, who had worked on farms before the arrival of mechanisation. With the assistance of a tape recorder he collected oral evidence of the dialect, rural customs, traditions and folklore throughout East Anglia, and this work, reinforced by documental research, provided the background for his renowned East Anglian books.

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