Approaches and Methods
This book is intended as a contribution to the reconstruction of the local and popular cultures of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Ireland, of beliefs, attitudes and practices among the majority of the population. The problems of documenting such cultures in the past are well known. The words and beliefs of the majority are rarely, if ever, available in forms which are not heavily mediated. Most of the archives and material objects which survive were produced by rich and powerful minorities, and deal with their immediate concerns. When the majority are described, it is usually by hostile or uncomprehending observers. It is easy in these cases to mistake the categories of interpretation of an educated observer for those of the people being described. There are some archives, particularly judicial and inquisitorial, which transcribe statements made by ordinary witnesses, but these are witnesses who find themselves in unusual and often intimidating circumstances.
KeywordsEighteenth Century Popular Culture Early Nineteenth Century Fairy Tale Early Modern Period
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