Limiting Literature

by Matthew Koslowski on July 15, 2009
in Essays

I was listening to Radio Boston on Saturday. After main feature, called “Patrick in the Crosshairs,” about the developing Massachusetts Gubernatorial Race, ended there was a short feature called “New England Music of Life and Death, Not Bed and Breakfast”.

When most people think of New England Folk music, they imagine cheery songs sung in the Berkshires, our gentle mountains at Massachusetts’s western border, dotted with bed&breakfast inns and craft stores. But as Tim Eriksen reminds us, Massachusetts was once a frontier, just as wild and rugged as that explored by Lewis and Clark. He sings a murder ballad to prove his point.

I realized that he was discussing literature asĀ  history: this murder ballad is both a folk song and historical record.

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