Jun 12, 2012

Scottish Chapbooks

Satan will punk you.
It's no secret that I have been scanning Scottish Chapbooks for an internship.  But many people have been asking me, "Will, what is a Scottish Chapbook?"  So let me explain,
   Chapbooks in the 18th and 19th century were small publications that contained songs, poems, political treatises, folk stories, religious tracts, fortune telling, histories of famous robbers, kings, and warriors.  Literacy in Scotland was higher than in most parts of Europe due to the government’s decree that there be a school in every parish,  and the Presbyterian Church’s emphasis on literacy so that every parishioner could read the Bible. The chapbooks are not only a great resource to view the popular reading of the common folk of the period but also window  into their society.
  So hopefully that helps.  But man they are really cool.  One topic that I am interested in is cultural continuity that can still be found in American Southern dialect and folkways.  The old Scots dialect  can be found in the many of the Chapbook entries and there are instances of word usage and grammatical structure that can still be found in Southern communities and my 95 year old grandma.  But they can also tell you how to read your fortune in your moles, fingernails, or your cup of coffee and how Satan is making mischief.  Which is incredibly useful!
Did you know that my moles tell me that I am destined to be a furrier!  As I had suspected.

For further reading: The Scottish Chapbook Project

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