Ballads, Culture and Performance in England 1640-1660

Ballads, Culture and Performance in England 1640-1660

Wisdom ,Sarah Page (Georgia State University)

Master of Arts, in the College of Arts and Sciences, Georgia State University (2011)


Ballads published during the English Civil Wars and Interregnum were a uniquely potent cultural medium. Ballad authors and publishers used the tools of format and genre, music, and available discourses to translate contentious topics into a form of entertainment. The addition of music to what would otherwise have been merely another form of cheap print allowed ballads to be incorporated into many parts of daily life,through oral networks as well as through print and literacy. Ballads and their music permeated all levels of society and therefore the ideas presented in ballads enjoyed a broad audience. Because any given ballad was subject to repeated performances, its meaning was recreated with each performance. Performances of ballads published in the 1640s and 1650s created a vision of an imaginary England of the past, and projected hope that this past would be restored in the future.

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