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HALLIWELL, James Orchard.

Popular Rhymes and Nursery Tales:

a sequel to the Nursery Rhymes of England.

London: John Russell Smith, 1849 Stock Code: 136692
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First edition of this important little work; scarce in commerce. James Orchard Halliwell (later Halliwell-Philipps, 1820-1889), antiquary and literary scholar, co-founder of both the Percy and Shakespeare Societies, is one of the most significant figures in the codification of English nursery rhymes. Popular Rhymes was a sequel to his groundbreaking Nursery Rhymes of England (1842), both of which "would remain standard works on the subject for half a century" (Gregory, p. 116). Most familiar to modern readers are Halliwell's versions of Tom Thumb and Chicken Licken, and his important transcription from chapbook sources of Jack the Giant-Killer (see Thomas Green, Arthuriana: Early Arthurian Tradition and the Origins of Legend, The Lindes Press, 2009, p. 148); these are gathered together in the chapter entitled "Fireside Stories".

"Much more than a collection, the Popular Rhymes offered historical and comparative analysis of its verses and tales. It amplified the scope of the earlier rhyme-book with a section of nineteen folktales, obtained both from oral sources and from chapbooks. The chapter rubrics were now much tighter and more definitive: Nursery Antiquities, Fireside Nursery Stories, Game-Rhymes, Alphabet-Rhymes, Riddle-Rhymes, Nature-Songs, Proverb-Rhymes, Places and Families, Superstition Rhymes, Custom-Rhymes, and Nursery-Songs. Halliwell conceded his debt to Robert Chalmers's 'elegant work,' The Popular Rhymes of Scotland (1826), but also stressed the differences in content. Together the two 'vernacular anthologies' contained nearly all that was worth preserving of 'the natural literature of Great Britain'" (Dorson, p. 68).

Provenance: pencilled ownership inscription to advertisement facing title, "H. C. Hart / 89", possibly Henry Chichester Hart (18476-1908), Anglo-Irish botanist and explorer, who, like Halliwell, was also a Shakespearean scholar, editing a number of volumes in the Arden edition.

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Duodecimo in 6s. Original green pebble-grain cloth with blind lateral striations, gilt lettered and decorated spine, blind panel to sides, gilt block of a child reading to front cover, all edges gilt, slate-green-coated endpapers.


Old ink splash to front cover, gilt block a little rubbed, nick to head of spine. A very good copy.


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