NR - New Morris Dance Book

Jerry Mapes jrmapes at
Mon Nov 8 16:13:42 PST 1999

THE HISTORY OF MORRIS DANCING (1458-1750) by John Forrest is a narrative

analysis of all the
primary materials concerning morris dancing in England and Scotland from

the first Medieval records in the mid-fifteenth century down to the
mid-eighteenth century.

The bulk of the work is taken up with describing morris in different

  1.Royal Courts: examines the record books of the Tudors who regularly
sponsored morris dances as
    elements in grand courtly displays.
  2.Urban Streets: concerns processional morrises sponsored by trade
guilds, and performed as part of
    large civic processions.
  3.Church Property: looks at the sponsorship of morris by the
established church, particularly in the
    context of ales, May games, and the like.
  4.Church Proscription: deals with the legal actions the church took,
starting in the late sixteenth
    century, against morris dancing.
  5.Public Stage: collects together all the stage plays that have
directions for a morris dance in them
    (mostly from the early seventeenth century).
  6.Rural settings: considers morris as a village phenomenon independent

of the church, and as it
    developed subsequent to the loss of church sponsorship.
  7.Assemblies: examines all country dances that have "morris" in their
  8.Private Premises: deals mostly with tours of rural morris sides to
manor houses, and country seats
    of the gentry.

The book contains hundreds of direct quotations from primary materials,
and is a virtually endless source for those interested in the historical

context of the dances.  Some reconstruction's of historical dances are
also provided.  Given the present state of knowledge of the history of
morris the book is definitive and

THE HISTORY OF MORRIS DANCING (1458-1750) is published in England by
James Clarke and in
North America by University of Toronto Press.  They may be contacted at:

James Clarke and Co.
PO Box 60, Cambridge, CB1 2NT, England
Tel: +44 (0) 1223 350865
Fax: +44 (0) 1223 368822

University of Toronto Press
call 1-800-667-0892
fax 1-800-665-8810
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