The English and Scottish Popular Ballads by Francis James Child
Harvard's first professor of English, the American scholar Francis James Child (1825-96) had previously prepared a collection of English and Scottish ballads, published in 1857-9, before he embarked on producing this definitive critical edition. Organised into five volumes and published in ten parts between 1882 and 1898, the work includes the text and variants of 305 ballads, with Child's detailed commentary and comparison with ballads and stories from other languages. Although he did not live to fully clarify his methods of selection and classification, modern scholars still refer to the 'Child Ballads' as an essential resource in the study of folk songs and stories in the English language. The work also contains a helpful glossary of archaic terms and a long list of sources. Volume 1, Part 2 (1884) contains ballads 29-53, including 'King Arthur and King Cornwall' and 'Captain Wedderburn's Courtship'.