Visiting Lectures by Dr. David Hopkin on April 15-17, 2013
The Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore announce the following guest lectures from Dr David Hopkin (University of Oxford), author of the Briggs-award winning volume "The Voices of the People in Nineteenth-Century France" (2012).
Lectures take place in English. All are welcome.
More information: Jontahan Roper, senior researcher of the Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, e-mail roper [ät] ut.ee
Monday 15th April, 18:15 Ülikooli 17-305 (Scandinavistica library)
THE VISIONARY WORLD OF THE LACEMAKER
Handmade lace is a strange textile which comes laden with meanings beyond the sartorial. According to numerous legends its origin was divine, and lace-making skills were often taught in pious institutions. It was a luxury product, sponsored by aristocrats, although made by the poorest in society. Both the product and its production were associated with the enforcement of female submission and modesty, but at the same time it carried an erotic charge. As lace was the last textile whose manufacture was mechanised we have an especially privileged access into the working world of lacemakers. In the nineteenth century they were the subject of considerable attention from the Church, from aristocratic patrons and from the state keen to encourage home-working. But they were also visited again and again by folklorists because lacemakers' collective work patterns encouraged storytelling and singing. Many of the most important folksong and folktale collections from Flanders and France were made among lacemakers. What do these texts tell us about lacemakers' lives and their relationship with their craft? Lacemakers rejected many aspects of what the state, church, lace-entrepreneurs and family patriarchs had in mind for them. What emerges instead is their relationship to the supernatural and the visionary quality of lacemakers' imagination.
Tuesday 16th April, 12:15 Ülikooli 16-214
THE SOLDIER'S TALE: FOLKTALES AND STORYTELLING IN MEMOIRS OF THE REVOLUTIONARY AND NAPOLEONIC WARS
From the Grimm brothers onwards, soldiers have been among the primary purveyors of tales to collectors. But what purpose did storytelling have in military environments, and what did stories mean to the soldiers who told them? In contexts where language was disciplined, fantasy was a cover for subversive talk, a way of sounding out comrades' views about officers, desertion and violence. The folktales told in barracks and camps were a means of inculcating a particular military outlook among new recruits. One way to find out what tales meant to soldiers is to read for the echoes of oral storytelling in their memoirs. Rank-and-file veterans of the French revolutionary and Napoleonic wars have left us dozens of autobiographies and other personal documents that either directly refer to storytelling or which incorporate aspects of folktales into their own life stories. From these examples it seems that the narrative models provided by folktales influenced veterans' own memories of the events they had experienced, or at least shaped the way they communicated their experiences to those around them. Veterans' skill as narrators were also important in inculcating attitudes to military service in the population more generally.
Wednesday 17th April, 12:15 Ülikooli 16-214
TWO WORLDS, ONE HOUSE: STORYTELLING BETWEEN SERVANTS AND MASTERS IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
The French reading public learnt at the beginning of the Third Republic that their country still possessed what was defined at the time as 'oral literature' thanks to the works of a generation of folktale collectors including Wentworth Webster, Emmanuel Cosquin, Paul Sebillot, Achille Millien and Felix Arnaudin. In every case these folklorists had been introduced to 'oral literature' by a female domestic servant in the family's household. For the sons of the rural notability, collecting was motivated by nostalgia, as a way back the feminine, dialect-speaking world of hearth and home, before the rupture of boarding school, correct French and public responsibility. It was also a means to create or maintain affective relationships across social barriers. They hoped that such 'real' relationships, untainted by the falseness generated by social hierarchies, might create the cultural space in which to achieve social reconciliation. Folklore publications could promote reconciliation on a national scale. However, for the servants themselves, tales were a way of preserving kin and class solidarities, negotiating their position within the household, and giving voice to their desires and ambitions. Their stories are, therefore, valuable historical sources for the history of one of the most ubiquitous but enigmatic social groups, the domestic servant. What servants such as Stephana Hirigaray, Francoise Vaudin and Vincente Baquet have to say to historians will be considered in this paper.