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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/442

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SOME RECENT UTTERANCES OF
MR. NEWELL AND MR. JACOBS.

A CRITICISM.[1]


IT is the merit of every considerable body of facts, arranged methodically, to further the cause of study, not only by stimulating fresh research, but by crystallising theory as to the explanation of the facts. Such crystallisation is indispensable to that searching criticism of theory the outcome of which is a closer approximation to truth. That Miss Cox’s Cinderella has this merit few will deny who have read Mr. Newell’s brief but pregnant review (Journal of American Folk-Lore, No. XXI), and Mr. Jacobsarticle in the September number of Folk-lore.[2] Both scholars have, it seems to me, put their theory, I will not say into a more definite form than heretofore, but into one more definitely correlated with particular facts, and thereby more susceptible of profitable discussion. Whilst differing from each other in important respects, both scholars are agreed as to the correct solution of certain elements in the folk-tale problem. Their utterances may therefore be considered together with advantage, although I would premise that, owing to the differences I have just spoken of, points scored against the one are by no means necessarily scored against both.

I assume that Mr. Newell’s views, fully set forth in his “Lady Featherflight” in the Transactions of the Second International Folk-Congress, are familiar to my hearers. He regards the folk-tale as originating from the more intellectual and artistic minds of the race, after it has already attained a, relatively, high level of intellectual and

  1. Read before the Folk-lore Society, 15th Nov. 1893.
  2. All references to Mr. Jacobs, unless otherwise stated, are to this paper.