'I have a yong suster'
Folksong, ballad and the middle English lyric
This study explores the relationship of the Middle English lyric (primarily, though not exclusively, the secular lyric) to the various forms of folksong and popular song for which we have manuscript evidence or testimony from the 13th to the 16th centuries. The author interprets the poems in their cultural and manuscript contexts, but also applies structuralist and semiotic analytical methods as tools for a more systematic interpretive approach to material not immediately accessible to the present-day reader. Those medieval lyrics that can most profitably and convincingly be related to an oral popular tradition of folksong are often the ones which modern readers find most attractive and interesting. Through a context-sensitive, cultural and historical textual hermeneutic applied to such a selection of Middle English lyrics, the book attempts to shape for the reader a sense of the nature, extent and dynamics of the popular literary culture of the medieval and early modern period.
Karen Boklund-Lagopoulou holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She is Professor of English Literature at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.