Nursery rhymes - and historySunday, March 27, 2005
Nursery rhymes may seem mundane. But what is interesting to me is how they originate, what they really encapsulate, how they are passed down, their transmutation from warnings, stories or commentary on real (and often gruesome) historical events into children's games, or songs people use to sing their children to sleep - "Ring a ring a roses" and the Black Death being the most famous one. In a very entertaining and well written novel, The Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart, the key to an ancient secret is even hidden in a children's nursery rhyme to ensure it doesn't get forgotten.
So this site (rhymes.org.uk) I've found on the origins of individual nursery rhymes is particularly fascinating, and well worth a browse if you're interested in oral history and folklore.
Technorati Tags: history, oral history, folklore, tradition, nursery rhymes, Improbulus, A Consuming Experience, Consuming Experience