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The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren [Paperback]

Iona Opie , Peter Opie , Marina Warner
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 31 2000 New York Review Books Classics
First published in 1959, Iona and Peter Opie's The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren is a pathbreaking work of scholarship that is also a splendid and enduring work of literature. Going outside the nursery, with its assortment of parent-approved entertainments, to observe and investigate the day-to-day creative intelligence and activities of children, the Opies bring to life the rites and rhymes, jokes and jeers, laws, games, and secret spells of what has been called "the greatest of savage tribes, and the only one which shows no signs of dying out."

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About the Author

Iona (born 1923) and Peter Opie (1918-1982) began their research together in 1944. Fifteen years later, they published The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren and took their places as, to quote The Guardian, "the supreme archivists of the folklore movement." Since that time, they have jointly published The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, The Classic Fairy Tales, and Children's Game in Street and Playground. Since Peter Opie's death in 1982, Iona Opie has carried on with their work under his name as well as her own. Marina Warner is a writer of fiction, criticism, and history. Her award-winning studies of mythology and fairy tales include Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary, From the Beast to the Blonde, and No Go the Bogeyman. In 2006 she published Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors, and Media, a study of ghosts, phantasms, and technology. Her most recent work of fiction is the novel The Leto Bundle. A Fellow of the British Academy, she is also Professor of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex.

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First Sentence
THE scraps of lore which children learn from each other are at once more real, more immediately serviceable, and more vastly entertaining to them than anything which they learn from grown-ups. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Rhymes and reasons Sept. 21 2003
Format:Paperback
Most of the material for this book was gathered fifty years ago in British schools, but I'm sure readers in all countries, for all time, will find it amusing and revealing. When I'd finished it, I felt I had a greater insight into children's minds and concerns, which they express, of course, in the games they play and the rhymes they say. I felt at the same time great respect for children. For unasked and unobserved, they have been keeping our traditions alive for us. Many of their dictums and ditties have changed little for hundreds of years. It seems that all the Barbies and Action Men and other expensive toys can't distract them from this valuable and enjoyable task of conservation.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Anthropology of a world like ours (but not quite) Oct. 14 2003
Format:Paperback
Collected in the 50s, the Opies' LORE AND LANGUAGE OF SCHOOLCHILDREN is a compelling compendium of a world very similar to that of the 21st century but not quite. Americans will be particularly fascinated by the slight differences in customs and games among children across the Atlantic, as the Opies catalogue nicknames, rhymes, games, tricks, and half-believed supstertions and spells. fascinating reading.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rhymes and reasons Sept. 21 2003
By "brianmclean" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Most of the material for this book was gathered fifty years ago in British schools, but I'm sure readers in all countries, for all time, will find it amusing and revealing. When I'd finished it, I felt I had a greater insight into children's minds and concerns, which they express, of course, in the games they play and the rhymes they say. I felt at the same time great respect for children. For unasked and unobserved, they have been keeping our traditions alive for us. Many of their dictums and ditties have changed little for hundreds of years. It seems that all the Barbies and Action Men and other expensive toys can't distract them from this valuable and enjoyable task of conservation.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anthropology of a world like ours (but not quite) Oct. 14 2003
By Jay Dickson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Collected in the 50s, the Opies' LORE AND LANGUAGE OF SCHOOLCHILDREN is a compelling compendium of a world very similar to that of the 21st century but not quite. Americans will be particularly fascinated by the slight differences in customs and games among children across the Atlantic, as the Opies catalogue nicknames, rhymes, games, tricks, and half-believed superstitions and spells. fascinating reading.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars Aug. 15 2014
By Peter - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
a classic piece of original research, very entertainingly written.
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