By Deborah Nord Ph.D.

ISBN-10: 0231137044

ISBN-13: 9780231137041

ISBN-10: 0231510330

ISBN-13: 9780231510332

Gypsies and the British mind's eye, 1807-1930, is the 1st booklet to discover totally the British obsession with Gypsies during the 19th century and into the 20th. Deborah Epstein Nord lines a number of representations of Gypsies within the works of such recognized British authors John Clare, Walter Scott, William Wordsworth, George Eliot, Arthur Conan Doyle, and D. H. Lawrence. Nord additionally exhumes lesser-known literary, ethnographic, and old texts, exploring the interesting histories of nomadic author George Borrow, the Gypsy Lore Society, Dora Yates, and different hardly ever tested figures and institutions.Gypsies have been either idealized and reviled through Victorian and early-twentieth-century Britons. linked to primitive wishes, lawlessness, crafty, and sexual extra, Gypsies have been additionally items of antiquarian, literary, and anthropological curiosity. As Nord demonstrates, British writers and artists drew on Gypsy characters and plots to redefine and reconstruct cultural and racial distinction, nationwide and private id, and the individual's dating to social and sexual orthodoxies. Gypsies have been lengthy linked to pastoral conventions and, within the 19th century, got here to face in for the traditional British previous. utilizing myths of switched infants, Gypsy kidnappings, and the Gypsies' murky origins, authors projected onto Gypsies their very own wants to break out conference and their anxieties in regards to the ambiguities of identification. The literary representations that Nord examines have their roots within the interaction among the concept of Gypsies as a separate, usually despised race and the psychic or aesthetic wish to dissolve the boundary among English and Gypsy worlds. by way of the start of the 20 th century, she argues, romantic id with Gypsies had hardened into caricature-a phenomenon mirrored in D. H. Lawrence's The Virgin and the Gipsy-and completely obscured the truth of Gypsy lifestyles and historical past. (11/1/07)

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But the opposite notion, that a Gypsy child could end up in the English world, had great imaginative force as well. Parents might scold a naughty or even an unconventional child by saying that the “tinkers” had stolen their real offspring and left a Gypsy in his or her place. 15 This was apparently so with certain Gypsies themselves. According to Walter Simson, a contemporary of Walter Scott and the author of an early series of articles on Gypsies for Blackwood’s, Gypsies, too, had their own version of family romance: “If .

If the father of political economy and free-trade . . indd 23 3/10/2006 9:36:02 AM 24 A “Mingled Race” This legend carried particular force as a parental admonition. If the great Smith, a man so important to the building of British civilization, found himself in danger of absorption into an alien tribe, so, too, might any careless child. The threat of kidnapping became a staple of nursery rhymes, lullabies, and teasing to coax children into proper behavior. But the opposite notion, that a Gypsy child could end up in the English world, had great imaginative force as well.

From Walter Scott, Guy Mannering [London: Ward, 1878]) “sibyl in frenzy” (figure 7). In a set piece that was later sketched, painted, acted on the stage, and described in verse, Meg curses Bertram for this rude displacement of her people: There’s thirty hearts . . yonder, from the auld wife of an hundred to the babe that was born last week, that ye have turned out o’ their bits o’ bields, to sleep with the tod and the blackcock in the muirs! Ride your ways, Ellangowan. Our bairns are hinging at our weary backs; look that your braw cradle at hame be the fairer spread up,—not that I am wishing ill to little Harry, or to the babe that’s yet to be born,—God forbid,—and make them kind to the poor, and better folk than their father!

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Gypsies and the British Imagination, 1807-1930 by Deborah Nord Ph.D.


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