Folk-Lore/Volume 1/Folk-Lore Congress, 1891
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Folk-Lore Congress, 1891
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FOLK-LORE CONGRESS, 1891.
THE arrangements for the Folk-lore Congress are pro- gressing very satisfactorily, and there is now every prospect of a successful meeting. The adhesions have come in freely, and the guarantee fund has been subscribed to with great liberality. Altogether it is probable that the Folk-lore Congress of 1891 will be attended by a large number of experts from the Continent and America.
Already much work has been done in the way of pre- paration. As will be remembered, the Congress takes its mandate from the Folk-lore Congress held at the Paris Exhibition in 1889; and the present Congress will be held under the auspices of its patrons, included in the following list:
Comité de Patronage of the Congress of 1889.
Messrs. Alessandri, Roumanian Minister, Paris (deceased).
Messrs. MacRitchie (David), Secretary of the Gypsy-lore Society.
First List of Nominations to the Proposed International Folk-lore Council.
Abercomby (The Hon. J.), London.
Kirby (W. F.), London.
Coming now to the working personnel of the Congress, the following have been constituted the Organising Committee.
The Organising Committee of the Congress of 1891.
Chairman—G. L. Gomme, F.S.A.
Vice-Chairman—C. G. Leland.
Hon. John Abercromby.
J. G. Frazer, M.A.
The Right Hon. Sir John Lubbock, Bart., F.R.S., M.P.
Professor A. H. Sayce, M.A.
Hon. Treasurer—Edward Clodd, 19, Carleton Road, Tufnell Park, London, N.
Hon. Secretary— J. J. Foster, Offa House, Upper Tooting, London, S.W.
From these gentlemen two Special Committees have been selected: the Executive, to concern itself with the practical work of the Congress; the Literary, to supervise its literary side, and especially the papers read. These two bodies are formed of the following gentlemen, with power to add to their numbers:
Chairman—G. L. Gomme, F.S.A.
Hon. John Abercromby.
Joseph Jacobs, B.A.
Hon. Secretary—J. J. Foster.
Chairman—Joseph Jacobs, B.A.
Hon. JOHN ABERCROMBY.
Hon. Secretary—Alfred Nutt.
Later on, as the Congress approaches nearer, it is proposed to form a Reception Committee, which will make arrangements for the convenience of members staying in London for the Congress, negotiating with special hotels for that purpose. This Committee will also make arrangements for a limited number of receptions and excursions during the course of the Congress.
The preliminary arrangements are now sufficiently far advanced to enable the Committee to indicate roughly the order of business during the Congress. This will perhaps be sufficiently indicated by the following Report of the Literary Committee, containing suggestions for the character of the papers which that Committee would like to see read at the Congress. The list is obviously a tentative one, and it is hoped that the members of the Congress will largely add to it by suggesting papers of their own. More than one paper on the same subject will be willingly accepted, as the Congress is not committed to any special attitude towards the problems of Folk-lore.
The Literary Sub-Committee of the Folk-lore Congress of 1891 beg to report that:
They have elected Mr. Joseph Jacobs as Chairman, and Mr. Alfred Nutt as their Hon. Secretary.
They have met on two occasions, at which were discussed detailed plans for the literary work of the Congress, proposed by Messrs. E. Clodd, J. Jacobs, and A. Nutt. It was decided to make the following recommendations to the Organising Committee:
That the work of the Congress be divided over the five days, September 23 to September 27, thus: On Monday, September 23, the Congress to meet in the afternoon to hear the President’s Address, and to elect the officers of the Congress, viz., the Presidents of the Sections, the (European) Folk-lore Council, and a Special Committee on methodology, which shall meet out of Congress hours, but report progress on Friday, the last day of Congress.
The Sub-Committee recommend that the Congress be divided into three major sections: (i) Folk-tales and Songs; (ii) Myth and Ritual; (iii) Custom and Institution; and they recommend that Messrs. E. Clodd, J. G. Frazer, and G. L. Gomme be requested to preside over these sections respectively, and that Professor T. F. Crane be asked to preside over the Methodological Committee.
It seems desirable that each section shall meet on a separate day, at which papers shall be read devoted to questions connected with that section. The Committee recommend that under each section the papers and discussions should be taken, as far as possible, in chronological or logical order, dealing in turn with the relations of the subject—Tales, Myths, or Customs, in their present phases—to those of savage, oriental, classical, and mediæval times and conditions.
Thus on the day devoted to Folk-tales it is hoped that papers and discussions will be forthcoming on the Incidents common to European and Savage Folk-tales—Ancient and Modern Folk-tales of the East, their relations to one another, and to the Folk-tales of Modern Europe—Traces of Modern Folk-tales in the Classics—Incidents common to Folk-tales and Romances—The Recent Origin of Ballads—The Problem of Diffusion.
On the day devoted to Myth and Ritual such subjects may be discussed as: The relation of the Classical Mythologies to the Modern Folk-tale—Modern Folk-lore and the Eddas—Primitive Philosophy in Myth and Ritual—Sacrifice Rituals and their meaning—Hell-Myths and their relations to Classical and Biblical Mythologies—Survivals of Myths in Modern Legend and Folk-lore.
On the day devoted to Custom and Institution it is suggested that some of the following topics be discussed: Identity of Marriage Customs in Remote Regions—Burial Customs and their Meaning—Harvest Customs among the Celtic and Teutonic populations of Great Britain—The Testimony of Folk-lore to the European or Asiatic Origin of the Aryans—The Diffusion of Games—The Borrowing Theory applied to Custom.
Besides those papers, and others that may be suggested by members of the Congress, each day, it is proposed, shall open with a Presidential Address from the chairman of the section.
Thus four out of the five days being accounted for, it only remains to determine the work of the last day, Friday. This, it is suggested, should be taken up with the Reports of the Methodological Committee, appointment of Committees of the Folk-lore Council, and on special points to be brought before the next Congress. Besides this, it is hoped that arrangements may be made by which a conference may be held on this day between the Congress and the Anthropological Institute, to settle the relative spheres of inquiry between Folk-lore and Anthropology. Also it is anticipated that a detailed account of the Helsingfors Folk-lore Collection will be forthcoming, as well as descriptions of the Folk-lore subjects of interest at the Ashmolean and the British Museum.
If these suggestions are adopted by the Organising Committee it may fairly be anticipated that the Folk-lore Congress of 1891 will not only effect good by bringing experts of the science into closer communion, but also may produce work that will directly advance our knowledge of the subject.
Alfred Nutt, Hon. Sec.
This Report has been unanimously adopted by the Organising Committee, and the Literary Committee accordingly invite Papers on the above subjects or others thought suitable by the members of the Congress. Such Papers should be sent to the Hon. Secretary of the Literary Committee, Mr. Alfred Nutt. Each Paper should be accompanied by an abstract, which will probably be printed in the Bulletin of the Congress, if the Paper has been sanctioned by the Committee.