John Greenway (folklorist)

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John Greenway was born Johannes Groeneweg in Liverpool, England, in 1919 and died in 1991. He was a noted author, singer and scholar who focused on American folk songs of protest.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania, where his dissertation was on "American Folksongs of Social and Economic Protest." It was later published as American Folksongs of Protest (University of Pennsylvania Press 1953), which was the standard work in the field for 40 years. He also studied protest folk songs in Australia.[1] He recorded The Great American Bum and Other Hobo and Migratory Workers' Songs, and American Industrial Folksongs, both released by Riverside Records. In the 1950s he was a Professor of English at Denver University. He was professor of anthropology in the late 1960s through the 1970s at the University of Colorado in Boulder, at times angering the establishment there. He authored or edited 19 books, wrote hundreds of articles and reviews, and was for many years editor of the Journal of American Folklore, Southwestern Lore, and Western Folklore (acting).[2] Other popular works by Greenway include The Inevitable Americans (1964) and Literature Among the Primitives (1964).[3] Many consider his best work to be "Down Among the Wild Men," an account of his studies among the Aborigines of Australia, a people he greatly admired, and indeed found to be superior to the decadent white man of the Western world. This book was one time a Book of the Month Club selection.

Greenway was also a collector and performer of songs in the talking blues genre. In 1958 he released the album Talking Blues, a collection of 15 songs which he had recorded and annotated.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Australian Folksongs and Ballads, Smithsonian Folkways, 1959
  2. ^ Tristram Potter Coffin (Spring 1992). "Obituaries: John Greenway (1919-1991)". The Journal of American Folklore 105 (416): 208–210. 
  3. ^ Ted Hughes (December 9, 1965). "Tricksters And Tarbabies". The New York Review of Books. Retrieved 18 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Talking Blues, Smithsonian Folkways, 1958.