Folk-Lore/Volume 4/Some Recent Utterances of Mr. Newell and Mr. Jacobs. A Criticism
|←Cinderella and the Diffusion of Tales|| Folk-Lore/Volume 4
Number 4 (December)
Some Recent Utterances of Mr. Newell and Mr. Jacobs. A Criticism. Alfred Nutt.
|Pin-Wells and Rag-Bushes.→|
SOME RECENT UTTERANCES OF
MR. NEWELL AND MR. JACOBS.
IT is the merit of every considerable body of facts, arranged methodically, to further the cause of study, not only by stimulating fresh research, but by crystallising theory as to the explanation of the facts. Such crystallisation is indispensable to that searching criticism of theory the outcome of which is a closer approximation to truth. That Miss Cox’s Cinderella has this merit few will deny who have read Mr. Newell’s brief but pregnant review (Journal of American Folk-Lore, No. XXI), and Mr. Jacobs’ article in the September number of Folk-lore. Both scholars have, it seems to me, put their theory, I will not say into a more definite form than heretofore, but into one more definitely correlated with particular facts, and thereby more susceptible of profitable discussion. Whilst differing from each other in important respects, both scholars are agreed as to the correct solution of certain elements in the folk-tale problem. Their utterances may therefore be considered together with advantage, although I would premise that, owing to the differences I have just spoken of, points scored against the one are by no means necessarily scored against both.
I assume that Mr. Newell’s views, fully set forth in his “Lady Featherflight” in the Transactions of the Second International Folk-Congress, are familiar to my hearers. He regards the folk-tale as originating from the more intellectual and artistic minds of the race, after it has already attained a, relatively, high level of intellectual and artistic culture, and as percolating downwards both among the ruder, less advanced members of the particular section of the race to which its originators belonged, and among such ruder and less advanced sections of the race generally as may come into culture contact with the centre of origination. In the course of this process, the tale, which in its first shape may be comparatively free from what we call archaic features, acquires them, and it is this acquisition by degradation that gives them a false look of primitiveness to the eye of the modern folk-lorist.
Mr. Jacobs has certainly not formulated his views in an equally uncompromising way, but I think I am not doing him an injustice in saying that he shares with Mr. Newell the belief in a comparatively late origin of the bulk of our folk-tales, in a definite centre of origin for each tale, and in an absolutely late period of dispersion for a very considerable proportion of tales. Moreover, for him India is certainly the centre of origin in a large number of cases, and the period of dispersion is that during which India has been in culture contact with Europe. Such contact has been intermittent, and successive phases of contact have introduced successive strata of folk-literature from India into Europe, or, at all events as far as the later phases are concerned, from Europe into India.
It is worth while pausing a moment to ask why these particular explanations of an exceedingly complex group of facts should have commended themselves to these two scholars, neither of whom would deny that alternative explanations have much in their favour. In the case of Mr. Newell I cannot doubt that he has been influenced by his work on games, on the merit of which it would be superfluous to enlarge. In a large number of cases the origin of children's games has been successfully sought for in the imitation of rites and customs of grown-up people, rites and customs which may often have completely died out save in the survival due to the imitative propensity of the child. Substitute "folk" for "child", and generalise from games to folk-lore (or rather folk-literature) at large, and one approximates to Mr. Newell's theory. But a more potent factor with Mr. Newell, as certainly it is the most potent factor with Mr. Jacobs, is what may be termed, in no invidious sense, the "literary-historical idol". In dealing with the history of individualistic, consciously artistic literature we attach, and rightly, extreme importance to questions of date. In the case of two writers dealing with the same theme, dependence of the later upon the earlier writer is the obvious explanation of any similarity. The same principle is applied to folk-literature; the date of appearance of a folk-theme is treated as its date of origin, the earliest recorded version is, half unconsciously, regarded as being in some way the fount of later versions. That I am not overstating the case is, I think, evident from an admission of Mr. Newell's. In speaking of the Cinderella story he says: "The separate incidents are, of course, of indefinite antiquity." But if this be so, why must the combination be regarded as modern? Simply because, as a matter of fact, it is not recorded as a whole until modern times, and the literary student is not willing to go behind his chronological data. For there is obviously no reason in the nature of things why a story first recorded in modern times, and presenting a mixture of modern and archaic elements, should not have acquired its modern features in the course of the ages. The prejudice of the literary student in favour of the simultaneity of origin and record causes him to reject this, the natural explanation, and leads him to look upon the archaic as the extraneous element. So, too, with regard to the "Indian" hypothesis. No one will deny that, whatever reasons it may rest upon now, it was at first due to observation of the prior publication, so to say, of Indian tale collections, and was in fact nothing but a gigantic exemplification of the principle post hoc ergo propter hoc.
Bearing all these facts in mind, let us see how the two scholars approach the Cinderella problem. Mr. Newell is inclined to look upon the Catskin form as the eldest, and to hold that it originated in the thirteenth or fourteenth century somewhere in Central Europe, whence it has spread over the world. Here I note at once a tacit admission. The earliest recorded version goes back to the early sixteenth century, yet the origin is dated back to the fourteenth or thirteenth century. So that during a period of two or three centuries it must have been current orally. To this I have of course no objection, but how does it fit in with Mr. Newell's theory? According to him, the story is a definite combination of incidents due to a definite thirteenth or fourteenth century minstrel. But there is absolutely no traceable literary connection between this unknown minstrel and the sixteenth century Straparola or Bonaventure. His tale must therefore have gone at once into the popular story-store, and there remained buried until it was dug forth again in the sixteenth century. Yet if this is admitted, who does not see that the attribution to the thirteenth or fourteenth century rests upon no certain foundation, and that we might substitute fifth or fifteenth without either strengthening or invalidating the argument? The point to note is that Mr. Newell is forced to postulate a lengthened period of purely oral transmission, the determination of that period being purely arbitrary, and that he deprives himself of any, to him, secure foothold for working back to the original form of the story; for who can tell what modification it may not have undergone during its two hundred years of oral life?
Mr. Jacobs' conclusions are in general agreement with those of Mr. Newell. He detects a "feudal character underlying the whole conception" (of the Cinderella story), which would fall in with Mr. Newell's dates. Is this "feudal" character due to the fact that the hero is a king's son, and that he has apparently unlimited rights in the way of throwing the handkerchief? But, centuries before feudalism. Psyche was the daughter of a king and queen who lived once upon a time, and we have the testimony of Irish and Scandinavian sagas quite unaffected by feudalism properly so called, that the chiefs son was of as much interest to the maidens of his day as he would be in the Middle Ages or at the present time. Indeed, it might rather be argued that the mediaeval story-teller would insist upon good blood in his heroine—beautiful, of course, she must needs be, or she were not a heroine at all, but in addition she must also turn out to be a king's daughter, or else she were no mate for a king's son. So that internal evidence seems to me rather against than in favour of the "feudal" origin of the story, if "feudal" is used to design a definite historical period characterised by definite political and social institutions. Again, in his comment on the "Tattercoats" variant, Mr. Jacobs says: "It is an instance of the folk-novel pure and simple, without any admixture of those unnatural incidents which transform the folk-novel into the serious folk-tale as we are accustomed to have it. Which is the prior, folk-novel or tale, it would be hard to say." Mr. Newell would probably disavow the dubitative turn of the last sentence, and would unhesitatingly assert the priority of the folk-novel "transformed by the admixture of unnatural incidents" into the fairy tale we all know.
Here we are brought face to face with the real crux of the märchen or "serious folk-tale", namely, the presence of "unnatural incidents". How skilfully does Mr. Jacobs suggest that this element is extraneous by his use of the word "admixture"! Yet that is the very point that has to be decided, and the word is a wholly question-begging one. How then is the crux dealt with? It need hardly be said that in Cinderella, almost more than in any other folk-tale, it is indeed the crux. For in the Cinderella group we find animal parentage, animal help, speaking animals, resuscitation from bones, magic dresses, transformation, mutilation, all of which are certainly "unnatural" incidents, if by unnatural is meant out of accord with the observed facts of life.
Mr. Newell has no doubt upon the subject: "Archaic additions", says he, "are always made by savage races to tales which they have received from civilised peoples." Whence we may conclude that the "unnatural" incidents I have just cited are additions made by the "savage" folk of Central Europe to the tale of the "civilised" thirteenth or fourteenth century minstrel. Nay, we can determine the date of this "admixture" yet more closely; for, as I have shown, Mr. Newell's view postulates the oral transmission of the proto-Catskin (the earliest form of the whole group, according to him) during a period of some 200 years. And during this period the admixture cannot have taken place, for the tale as we find it in Bonaventure and Straparola is singularly free from "archaic" incidents. Nor will it be denied that the "fairy godmother" of Perrault is less archaic than the mother transformed after death into an animal of countless modern versions. Ergo, in Perrault's time the full archaisation of the tale had not taken place, and this must be ascribed to the West European savages of the last two centuries.
I had almost added the Euclidean "which is absurd". Yet the conclusion flows logically from Mr. Newell's premises. For him Cinderella starts with a Catskin story of the thirteenth or fourteenth century; for him archaism is no test of age, savage races receiving their tales from civilised peoples and spicing them with archaic traits; for him Cinderella, as a whole, is a purely European creation, the few non-European variants being due to quite recent transmission. What explanation remains, then, save that the "unnatural" incidents have been foisted in during the century of reason and enlightenment which lies between Perrault and the Grimms?
Mr. Jacobs has thought the matter out more warily. He refuses assent to Mr. Newell's postulate of the priority of Catskin over all other forms of the Cinderella, justly observing that the appearance of Catskin in Straparola 100 years earlier than the first recorded true Cinderella in Basile is a "somewhat insufficent basis for such a conclusion". For a moment he hesitates, but only for a moment. "It remains to be proved", says he, "that the introductory part of the story with the helpful animal was necessarily part of the original." Heretical doctrine this from an adherent of the principle that a tale is a definite combination of incidents; but let that pass. He then goes on: "The possibility of the introduction of an archaic formula which had become a convention of folk-telling cannot be left out of account."
It is amazing that a scholar of Mr. Jacobs' acuteness should not see that this argument from convention not only gives away his own case but practically establishes that of his opponents. What is a convention? A form of incident or wording accepted as appropriate in a given situation owing to long use in similar situations. It must be accepted as appropriate by both reciter and hearers, and acceptance is mainly determined by familiarity due to long use. The rapidity with which a new convention establishes itself depends chiefly upon the degree of advance and variation in a society. In a backward, conservative society such as that of the peasantry in many parts of modern Europe, conventions live long and die hard; as a matter of fact, the Gaelic story-teller of to-day, both in Ireland and Scotland, habitually uses conventions which we know to have been in force for over a thousand years. If, therefore, the archaic traits in Cinderella are really due to conventional analogy, the existence of a folk-literature of immemorial antiquity is thereby amply and irrefragably proved. You cannot have conventions without literature, whether written and conscious, or oral and unconscious. The theory to which Mr. Newell and Mr. Jacobs have, with varying degrees of confidence, pinned their faith may be stated as follows: Fairy tales are not really old, but are stuffed full of imitations of old fairy tales which have disappeared. One is reminded of the famous theory that Shakspeare's plays were not written by Shakespeare, but by another fellow of the same name.
Thus, accept the convention theory, and the main point in dispute between Mr. Newell and Mr. Jacobs on the one hand, and numerous folk-lorists, myself amongst them, on the other, is conceded in our favour: there has existed from of very old in Europe a body of folk-literature presenting archaic traits. But more follows. Mr. Jacobs' favourite grievance against the anthropologists is deprived of all point, though, strangely enough, he is blind to the fact. You use folk-tales, says he, as evidence of the social and intellectual condition of a race; error! the race may have borrowed its tales. But if the tales came to the borrowing race destitute of those traits upon which the anthropologist relies, and if these were so engrained in the mental and artistic equipment of the race that it could not refrain from introducing them into its borrowed literature, surely "the archaeological value of such traits is much enhanced"—no, says Mr. Jacobs, reduced—"by such considerations."
Is it possible, I ask, to go farther astray? Yet Mr. Jacobs' errements are almost inevitable consequences from his acceptance of a postulate not only false but unnecessary. And I am not without hopes that by setting forth the straits into which he is driven he may be induced to see that his starting-point is false. Let yourself be dominated by the idea that the folk-tale is a conscious creation, the origin of which is more or less contemporaneous with its first appearance in literature, and at every step you will be driven to such expedients as I have just discussed; accept, on the other hand, the theory that the folk-tale is merely a new combination of extremely familiar incidents of great antiquity, and that citation in literature, whilst of the highest value in enabling us to determine a terminus ad quem, is of absolutely no value whatever (if I could use stronger words I would) in determining a terminus a quo—questions of origin and diffusion assume a new aspect, and such difficulties as beset Mr. Newell in his attempt to account for the development of the Cinderella group within the last 500 years, simply do not arise at all.
I confess that Mr. Jacobs' polemic against the anthropologists leaves me as cold as does much of Mr. Lang's polemic against the nature mythologists. It is so largely unnecessary. What is the utmost claim of the anthropologist? That a number of tales originate in a social and intellectual stage out of which our own race has emerged, and in which other races have remained. Had we only the evidence of nursery tales as to this stage, I could understand the pother, but their evidence is, at the best, subsidiary. We have so much more evidence, and evidence of such infinitely greater cogency, that I cannot understand why Mr. Jacobs who accepts that evidence, who is, in sociology, an evolutionist, should hesitate to accept evolution in folk-literature, should range himself on the side of the revelationist and "degradationist", if I may coin an ugly word for an irrational thing. Has man struggled upwards from savagery? If so, then most assuredly his tales have struggled upwards with him. If not, let us frankly confess we have all been wrong, and that Bryant and Mr. Casaubon are in the right.
The error, if I may venture to say so, lies in considering folk-literature apart from folk-lore at large, and folk-lore itself apart from the history of all the various phases of man's activity. I would fain for a moment glance at universal history from the sole standpoint of our studies. From the earliest date to which we can penetrate backwards in the story of our race down to the appearance of Christianity, we find man governed by certain religious and social conceptions, manifesting themselves in divers forms according to the varying genius of each race, but all animated by a common spirit. Parallels and similars to these conceptions, manifestations of this common spirit, are furnished at the present day by races and classes wholly or partially unaffected by Christian civilisation. That the spirit was one, though the forms of its manifestation were diverse, explains the ease with which these acted and reacted upon each other. Grasp this point, and much discussion about the borrowed nature of Hellenic mythology, for instance, becomes meaningless. No psychological obstacle forbade the attribution to Zeus of that which elsewhere was attributed to Ammon Ra or to Bel; all three were resultants of man's fancy working from a common set of intellectual, moral, and artistic data. To assign mythology to any one race, to treat all other races as its debtors in this respect, is irrational. We can only note that each race puts its own impress upon the common hoard of mythic material.
The common spirit underlying and animating a number of closely related conceptions of the universe may be styled the antique, in contradistinction to the modern, which is partly the result of Christianity, partly the result of forces independent of Christianity. Prior to the establishment of Christianity the antique spirit had its strongest support in religious organisation. The State had already begun to discard it, to introduce new conceptions. For the antique theory of the world flourished best, as it still does, in small communities strongly individualised against other communities, but internally socialistic; whereas the tendency of the State is to fuse small communities into one, and, by freeing the individual from socialistic shackles, to increase his taxable value. This tendency, which in the ancient world culminated in the Roman Empire, received tremendous impetus from the establishment of Christianity. For the first time, so far as we know certainly, the might of religion was arrayed against the antique theory of things; the local sanctuary, the strongest bulwark of the small community against the centralising State, was menaced with destruction. The Church, indeed, outstripped the State, and for a time there was fierce antagonism, but with the acceptance of Christianity by the Empire the two dominating forces that shape the fate of mankind were again, after a divorce of centuries, animated by a common theory of Hfe. Then, however, the forces of the older world were reinforced, all at once and incalculably, by the barbarian invasions. Church and State had to compromise all along the line, to what extent as regards Christianity we can trace in saints' lives and local festivals, whilst decrees of councils, episcopal charges, penitentials, witness the bitterness of the struggle against paganism. As regards the Empire, the compromise resulted in feudalism, a state of society resembling in many and not unimportant respects that which had formerly obtained both among the barbarian conquerors of the Empire and among the ancestors of the Greeks and Romans: a state of society singularly favourable to the growth of heroic romance. As regards Christianity, there came into existence a common stock of legendary romance, the scope and framework of which were as rigidly determined by psychological considerations as had been those of the mythological romance of antiquity, and the diverse forms of which acted and reacted upon each as freely as had the diverse forms of pre-Christian mythology.
The compromise was, upon the whole, more permanently satisfying to the Church, which indeed contrived to embody under its sway an ideal singularly beautiful and achieved, than to the State; although the Reformation may be regarded as a step onwards in the strife of Christian and pre-Christian theories of life, so that Puritanism, the most logical exponent of the Reformation, became of necessity the deadly foe of folk-lore. But at the present day it is the modern State, with its centralised, uniformitarian system of education, that threatens with imminent destruction that older interpretation of the universe which more than any other partially fulfils the test of catholicity, for it has, so far as we can learn, been held of all peoples and from immemorial antiquity.
Correlate these broad groupings of historic fact with the record of literature. This, in its earliest forms, is wholly mythic and heroic; it has a common fund of personages and situations which are differentiated chiefly by association with the origin and fortunes of small, strongly individualised communities. The vital power of this literature had well-nigh faded away by the time Christianity established itself, though it lived on as a subject of literary or academic exercise. During the first seven or eight centuries of Christianity mythico-heroic literature disappears. The classic form died away owing to the divorce between the highest thought and fancy of dying paganism and the conceptions upon which the older literature was based; the barbaric forms could not attain to expression so long as the strife between the invaders and the Empire was engaging all the energies of both sides. They emerged as soon as the compromise in Church and State had finally been settled, and then proved to be essentially of the same character as the mythico-heroic literature of classic and oriental antiquity. Mingling with the scattered remnants of this latter that had survived the shocks of the invasion period, mingling with and influenced by Christian legendary romance, they formed the staple of the highest literary art so long as the feudal state of society lasted. With the waning of feudalism, with the advent of the modern State, mediaeval romance waned also, gradually deserted as it was by the best imaginative and creative thought and fancy of the race.
The agreement between the historic and the literary record is perfect down to a comparatively recent period. Then, apparently without originating cause, an immense mass of popular literature, mythic and heroic in its essence, clad in comparatively novel form, comes to light. This phenomenon it is that has led to the false theory I have endeavoured to combat; observed of late, it must, so it is held, be of recent origin, and that origin must be external, and, being of foreign introduction, the phenomenon cannot be correlated with intellectual and artistic conceptions to the existence of which on European soil we have unbroken testimony of 3,000 years' standing. So easily does an unnecessary postulate lead to circular reasoning.
That the postulate is unnecessary seems to me hardly to require demonstration. The explanation of the phenomenon is so simple. As long as the whole of literature was mythico-heroic in essence and spirit, the lower forms were inevitably disregarded. To the men who told of Apollo the Python Slayer, or of Sigurd Fafnerbane, a story such as Jack the Giant Killer must have seemed an inferior variant of what they possessed in perfect form. Not until the divorce between culture and traditional literature was complete could the folk-version of that literature stand a chance of recognition. And then it shared the attention bestowed for the first time upon folk-lore generally, because for the first time that lore, ceasing to be a living factor in the higher ethics and philosophy, became susceptible of disinterested scientific examination. But the apparent new birth of folk-literature was chiefly determined by a rebirth of artistic literature. The consideration of this point will, I trust, enable me to make my peace both with Mr. Newell and with Mr. Jacobs.
The antique theory of life, whether as a mere survival, or still in full force, manifests itself in three ways: in religion, politico-legal organisation, and literature. But whilst polity, whether spiritual or secular, having once discarded the antique conceptions, became actually hostile to them, it was otherwise with literature. For this aims at depicting man in the sum total of his activities and emotions, whilst religion and law aim at disciplining and modifying him. Literature then cannot disassociate itself from the past of the race: for the artist, what has been, is. Nay more; literature by its nature is bound to be, in the Miltonic phrase, simple, sensuous, and passionate, conditions fulfilled far more perfectly in the antique societies which gave birth to romance than in the present day. The greatest literature of the world has its roots in myth and romance, and these are the spring-heads at which modern literature drinks when it would fain renew its youth and strength.
Thus a survival in folk-literature cannot be treated in the same way as a survival in folk-belief or folk-custom. In the one case the communion between the folk-spirit and the higher culture has been broken, in the other it still exists, and were it to disappear, one might almost predict the disappearance of literature itself. This much I admit, but not that folk-literature must therefore be investigated by the same critical method as artistic conscious literature. Here I join issue with Mr. Newell and Mr. Jacobs, as well as with other scholars.
As regards Cinderella I am not without hopes that further discussion as to whether the tale has sprung fully equipped into existence during the last six centuries may be held unnecessary. But I may also illustrate the difference in point of view between Mr. Jacobs and myself by reference to a couple of stories included in his More English Fairy Tales. One is a version of the Pied Piper, located at Newport in the Isle of Wight, on the authority of Abraham Elder, who wrote in 1830. Mr. Jacobs would hold this to be a forged transfer, so to say, of the well-known Hameln legend. The utmost he admits is that a local disappearance of children legend may have suggested to Elder the idea of giving a new home to the Hamein story. I cannot agree, I am willing to admit that had the Hamein story never become famous, never worked its way through Howell and Verstegan into English literature, we should not have had the Newport version of the Pied Piper legend. But this, because Elder would not have transcribed it, not because it would not have existed. For the collector is often a professed man of letters, and he is naturally attracted by anything at all akin to what is familiar to him from his reading. And I also admit that Elder, in shaping for the press the story, whatever it was, that he heard at Newport, was in all probability largely influenced by the Hameln legend. But it seems to me extremely unlikely that he simply transferred the story, body and bones, from the pages of Howell or Verstegan to the shores of the Solent. Mr. Jacobs' proof of this seems to me a disproof. He knew and cited Verstegan, says Mr. Jacobs. Just so. Would he have cited Verstegan had the latter been his sole authority? Would he not, had he been a mere forger, have endeavoured to cover his tracks?
No better instance of two diverse methods in storiological investigation could be well chosen than Mr. Jacobs' and Mr. Baring Gould's treatment of the Pied Piper. The latter accumulates a vast mass of interesting legendary parallels, but the whole discussion hangs in the air, and is never brought to the touch of historic or literary criticism; the former establishes to his own satisfaction the dependence of the English upon the German version, and there leaves the matter. Neither method seems to me satisfactory.
Mr. Jacobs finds in England a version of the Blinded Giant story. For him "there can be little doubt that it is ultimately to be traced back to the Odyssey I see no reason to assume this. For it further involves the assumption that the Odyssey version is the origin of the legend, an assumption to which I emphatically demur. The story existed before the author of the Odyssey worked it into his epic; it would have gone on existing had he not done so; in the latter case it probably would not have been so widely spread as it now is, but even this is conjectural, a point upon which dogmatism is impossible.
In both these cases the defect of the purely literary method is patent; concerned solely with the literary record of the story, it neglects the really interesting and important point, the sociological and ethnologic significance.
Mr. Jacobs made an undoubted hit with the epithet "casual" applied to the anthropological school. Prof. Rhys, as maybe remembered, was converted on the spot, and Mr. Lang has, seemingly, felt his withers wrung, though, if an outsider may guess, because he denied rather than because he admitted the justice of the taunt. A fair retort is to style Mr. Jacobs' the "spontaneous generation" school. Practically, it postulates creation ex nihilo by the exercise of individual fancy. It thus ignores the fact that every story has a past far older than the first recorded example, that the first combination into a story is merely the grouping together of incidents and conceptions familiar both to tellers and hearers; and, by insistence solely upon the combination and the tracking of its possible wanderings, it obscures for us the earlier history and real meaning of those incidents and conceptions.
Finally, I would note Mr. Jacobs' assertion concerning Cinderella: "The Borrowing Theory . . . comes out triumphant as the sole working hypothesis that will explain the same story existing in so many lands. That in this particular case the borrowing is not from India does not affect the general question." Does it not? I should have thought it did. But I accept Mr. Jacobs' assertion, for it reduces the Borrowing Theory to the statement that tales can and do spread. With that statement, provided it be added—so long as the sociological and psychological conditions are favourable—I have no quarrel. What I have always opposed is the theory, whether openly or tacitly maintained, that all tales are borrowed from one country. The moment it is admitted that tales may spring up everywhere, provided the conditions be favourable, the question of borrowing becomes a secondary one.
Note.—I have not dealt with a number of subsidiary assertions made either by Mr. Newell or Mr. Jacobs, preferring not to obscure the issue between us; but I do not wish to be held to assent to whatever I have not formally challenged. Mr. Newell's notice of Cinderella in especial contains many statements which seem to me very difficult, if not impossible, to prove.
- Read before the Folk-lore Society, 15th Nov. 1893.
- All references to Mr. Jacobs, unless otherwise stated, are to this paper.
- I do not, of course, deny the possibility of degradation, I merely refuse to look upon it as the sole, or even the chief, or even a very influential factor in the formation of folk-literature.
- This is as true of classic antiquity as of modern times. In the second century the ancients were feeling their way to an independent interest in and study of folk-literature and folk-lore generally. Apuleius is a fifteen century earlier precursor of Basile and Perrault.
- For Mr. Jacobs, that is. For he, to his great credit be it said, was the first of the Indianists to perceive that the ordinary explanations of the school lacked a scientific basis. A fact was stated, the priority of certain Indian collections, but no theory of causation was suggested, yet if India had a complete or practical monopoly of tale invention there must be a cause. Mr. Jacobs sought this "in the vitality of animism or metempsychosis in India throughout all historic time" (Indian Fairy Tales, p. 234). Yet here we have an "animistic" fairy tale apparently wholly unconnected with India. Does not this cut the ground from under Mr. Jacobs' feet? So that it is hardly necessary to enquire whether India has the monopoly of an unbroken belief in "animism or metempsychosis".