Human beings have developed a superabundance of ways of communicating with each other. Some, such as writing, are several millennia old. This book focuses on the relationship between speech and writing both within a single language, Welsh, and between two languages, Welsh and English. It demonstrates that the eighteenth-century Scottish clergy used the popular medium of Gaelic in oral and written form to advance the Gospel. The experience of literacy in early modern Wales was often an expression of legal and religious authority reinforced by the spoken word. This included the hearing of proclamations and other black-letter texts publicly read. Literate Protestant clergymen governed and shaped the Gaelic culture by acting as the bridge-builders between oral and literary traditions, and as arbiters of literary taste and the providers of reading material for newly literate people. The book also offers some illustrations of how anecdotes became social tools which used to make points not only in private correspondence but also in civil conversation in early modern England. Locating vagabonds and minstrels, and other wanderers on the margins of settled society depended on the survival of the appropriate historical record. Cautionary tales of the judgements God visited upon flagrant and incorrigible sinners circulated widely in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England: stories of sabbath-breakers, swearers, drunkards, adulterers and other ungodly livers struck down suddenly by the avenging arm of the Almighty. During the age of Enlightenment, intellectual culture nourished a new understanding of non-literate language and culture.
Cautionary tales and oral tradition in early modern England
The spoken word
Reformed folklore? Cautionarytales and
oral tradition in early modern England
rotestantism and print have often been presented as inherently
hostile to oral tradition. Historians have credited both with a leading role
in marginalizing, fossilizing, and ultimately suffocating the vernacular culture
of late medieval England. Still widely regarded as a movement whose success
depended upon the spread of literacy and the advent of the press, the
Reformation is commonly associated with attempts to
Edward Kamau Brathwaite, ‘A
post-cautionarytale of the Helen of our wars’,
Wasafiri , 22 (1995), p. 70.
pp. 69 and 78.
assisted emigration, a far greater body of
parish clergy responded to their parishioners in providing occasionally reluctant, but often vital facilitation of independent migration. In
particular, the priest’s role in kick-starting local ‘chains’ of emigration
by soliciting passage money and handling correspondence and remittances should be acknowledged as important.
Although the clergy had therefore been forced to concede that the
economic imperative would always trump any cautionarytales of
spiritual ruin they had cause to dispense, as the hierarchy’s 1902 statement
Competing imaginaries of science and social order in responsible (research and) innovation
Stevienna de Saille and Paul Martin
friends viewed the pace of
change from agrarian society to industrial modernity, and it is still
considered a cautionarytale about the capacity of technology to do
ill as well as good (Botting, 2003; Latour, 2012; Turney, 2000). As
It is frightening because it depicts a human enterprise which is out of
control, and which turns on its creator … [but] the myth is never a
straightforward anti-science story … the Frankenstein script, in its most
salient forms, incorporates an ambivalence about science, method and
motive, which is never resolved. (Turney
example of the potential of computer generated imagery to
create utterly realistic ‘events’; it also serves as a
strong cautionarytale concerning the faith we place in the cinema as a
form of integral realism, as ‘a recreation of the world in its own
image, an image unburdened by the freedom of interpretation of the
artist or the irreversibility of time’. 18
The realist style championed by Bazin carried a
Foregrounding the body and performance in plays by Gina Moxley, Emma Donoghue and Marina Carr
the Irish Dramatic Repertory’, Irish University Review 35: 2
(autumn/winter 2005), p. 332.
34 Melissa Sihra, ‘A CautionaryTale: Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats . . .’,
in Jordan (ed.), p. 257.
35 Mary Russo, The Female Grotesque: Risk, Excess and Modernity
(London: Routledge, 1994), pp. 54, 62.
36 Enrica Cerquoni, ‘ “One Bog, Many Bogs”: Theatrical Space, Visual
Image, and Meaning in Some Productions of Marina Carr’s By the Bog
of Cats . . .’, in Cathy Leeney and Anna McMullan (eds
untimely death in 1593.8 The
chapbooks tell how Faust conjured up one of Satan’s minions, Mephistopheles, and wrote a blood contract with Satan which stipulated that the latter
would fulfil all Faust’s desires for a period of twenty-four years. Satan was
as good as his word, and when the pact expired he came to earth and ripped
Faust to pieces. Although meant as an entertaining cautionarytale, twentyfour years of having one’s wishes come true must have appeared a rather
attractive proposition to some readers.
During the late seventeenth century Francois Henri de
-currents of history
including Latin American ones. Although Ariel can be read as a cautionarytale
about hubris, it can also be read in the spirit of Martí’s vision as a tract on a
future that draws on North and Latin American civilisational influences. Invoking
Ancient metaphors, Rodó’s tract reads:
More than once it has been observed that the great epochs of history, the most luminous and fertile periods in the evolution of humankind, are almost always the result
of contemporaneous but conflicting forces that through the stimulus of concerted
opposition preserve our