Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Portugal: A Book of Folk-ways (Book Review)

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (1937), 14, (53), 51


Bulletin of Spanish Studies 51 REVIEWS OF BOOKS Portugal: A Book of Folk-ways. By RODNEY GALLOP. Cambridge University Press, 1936. Pp. Xvi+292. I5s. Mr. Gallop, whose Book of the Basques is a standard account of one of the Hispanic peoples, has now done a great service to the study of a second. The years which he spent in the British Embassy at Lisbon have been made to yield exquisite fruit in this description of Portugal and her folk-lore, and it is admirable that its publication should have been aided by that enlightened body known until recently as the Junta de Educacao Nacional. Not always do we find such close and welcome collaboration as here between diplomats and the people in whose country they serve, a collaboration illumined by the dedication of the book to the many Portuguese in every province and in every walk of life whose unfailing courtesy and kindliness have helped me to write this book." The volume opens with a rapid 'personally conducted' tour of the country," which, to the mind of the present reviewer, is the most remarkable part of it. This section, says the author, modestly, may with equal advantage be read first, last or not at all." On the contrary, if the book is to be fully appreciated, these chapters, the indispensable background of the entire story, must be studied first, last and all the time. But it is not merely in relation to the rest of the book that they are so admirable. It is that in themselves they form a whole, which, with slight amplifications here and there, might well be reprinted as an introduction to the country for those about to visit it. From the Book of the Basques we already knew that Mr. Gallop had a gift for really telling description. But here, with his finely selected epithets and his perfectly drawn pictures, he surpasses himself. The two main sections of the book deal respectively with traditional beliefs and customs and with folk-music and literature. In the earlier, special attention is paid to rural festivals and ceremonies depending on the calendar, which have in the past suffered neglect in favour of the more widely current beliefs and practices of the superstitious. This section is, in the nature of the case, a mosaic of materials," but, since much of it is the hitherto unpublished result of personal investigation, and the whole of it is put together and expressed with skill and taste, it is always highly attractive. The second section, illustrated with examples from the author's own collections, is concerned chiefly with music-the music of folk-song, the traditional ballad, the popular quatrain, and the [ado, that urban form which a recent Portuguese writer classes with the knife and the guitar as one of " the three favourites adored by the people of Lisbon." The If II U Ie Copyright (c) 2004 ProQuest Information and Learning Company Copyright (c) Liverpool University Press

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