"Copious documentary evidence, notes, and bibliography, sheds light on English society and culture of the period, and opens up a whole new field of interest."Dance Expression "Phenomenal research plus a love of the subject make for something rather special."All Sport & Leisure Monthly "A superb and comprehensive book ... a wealth of quoted references and analysis. ... It will be a valuable source of reference, not only for those fascinated by the history of dance and the origins of the Morris, but for social and dance historians. ... wherever one dips there are fascinating insights. Buy it and enjoy it!"Bagman's Newsletter "A superb and comprehensive book. ... It will be the source of reference on early Morris and the contexts in which it occurred. Virtually every page has a quotation including morris and Forrest's comment on this. It will be a valuable source of reference for those fascinated by the history of dance and the origins of the Morris."World -Wide-Web, Morris Discussion List "I shall be reading & re-reading this book for some little time in order to absorb the enthralling complexity of the historical tapestry so knowledgeably discovered and examined. This book elevates our understanding of the story of morris dancing to a new, much more informed level. The History of Morris Dancing should be an essential item on every thinking morris dancer's bookshelf. At GBP17.50 for the paperback edition it represents an incomparable investment: buy it."The Morris Dancer "A fascinating account of the evolution of morris dances full of fresh insights into folk customs and their role in society. His investigation is thorough, wide ranging and well - illustrated with charts and maps. A wide sampling of accounts affords abundant evidence. John Forrest has written a pioneer study finely documented with good notes, appendices, bibliography and index. So replete this stand as no mean publishing achievement and one altogether worthy of commendation."The Expository Times
Morris dancing is one of the more individual of English folk customs and one that has been greatly misunderstood. Seen as a descendant of pagan folk ritual, the tradition of morris dancing has been based on calendar customs and distorted by preconceptions imposed on it by the folklorists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. John Forrest has carefully analysed the wealth of evidence to show that morris dancing does not in fact have pagan or ancient origins. His examination of the early documentation traces the passage of dance ideas between groups of people who have conventionally been considered folklorically distinct and ties morris traditions into the wider area of communal customs and public celebrations. Twenty years in the making and impeccably researched with a huge treasury of source material, "A History of Morris Dancing 1458-1750" is an essential reference work for anthropologists, social historians, and specialists in English literature.
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