Stephen D. Corrsin's Sword Dance History Research Site
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This is Stephen D. (Steve) Corrsin's Web site for research into the history of linked sword dancing in Europe and North America. It will include my publications (book and articles),  links to other relevant and interesting sites and pages, illustrations (photographs and pictures), and anything else relevant that I can think of. 

This is a work in progress, and I'm learning how to do this as I go along. First, I will post chapters from the revised edition of my book, Sword Dancing in Europe: A History. This is also still in progress; the earlier chapters are not much changed, but the later ones (covering 19th-20th centuries) in some cases are being changed quite a bit. This includes the chapter on modern Germany, where sword dancing became a folk dance favorite under Nazi rule; and also the chapter on England, where research since the early 1990s by Trevor Stone, Phil Heaton, and others have brought enormous progress to understanding of the history. A new section will appear on the dances of the Croatian islands of Korcula and Lastovo. In this group I'll also toss in a couple of chapters from a book which I couldn't get published on the general theme of the study of sword dancing. Lots of interesting material.  

On page 2 of this site I plan to link to articles. First my short articles, mostly published in
Rattle Up, My Boys or in the American Morris Newsletter. Besides articles, there will be obituaries for Renaat van Craenenbroeck and Trevor Stone, book reviews, etc. These will be my draft manuscripts, however, not the published versions from the journals.

I'll also include on page 2 final drafts of three articles from
Folklore, the journal of the (English) Folklore Society. First is a 2004 article, derived from a paper I gave at the annual meeting of the Society in Bath, England, concerning English ideas about "ritual dancing" ca.1897-1913. It is followed by two more ambitious and scholarly articles, published in 2008-10, on German-language scholarship into the history and significance of sword dancing from ca.1870-1945.  

On page 3, I will publish drafts of sections from my bibliography of sword dancing in Britain, prepared for the Library web site of the EFDSS, under the head of study guides, along with several others on Morris dancing (by Mike Heaney), folk song (David Atkinson), and Clog dancing (Chris Metherall). I've also included publications from Continental Europe and North America, and I hope eventually to link to sword-dance-related web sites, collections, images, and anything else that is relevant and interesting. I'm in the middle of the revision process now (August 2012) and I hope I'll have it ready soon. 

Page 4... what was it? Oh right. I've translated a number of detailed descriptions of individual dances, and will link to them here. These are traditional dances from the European continent, plus the repertoire of the now late New York team, New World Sword, a very creative group of which I was a member from its founding in 1990.

And after that we'll see. 


My book was published by the Folklore Society either in 1996 or 1997, depending on who you're talking to. (Long bibliographical story.) There will be links to the revised chapters as the work proceeds. The Folklore Society, the original publisher, gave me all rights to do as I please. This section is dedicated to the memory of Jennifer Westwood Chandler (d. 2008), a superb editor and a very good friend. As with Renaat and Trevor, I miss her guidance a great deal.

Here is the first one, the preface to the original book, unchanged. I'll add another preface and acknowledgements section thanking everyone else.

Here is chapter 1, the general introduction, mostly unchanged.

Here is chapter 2, the Low Countries in the 14th-17th centuries, mostly unchanged. I thought this was a very good one, and it owes a lot to Renaat van Craenenbroeck's personal collection. Dutch and French, mostly. This is how I learned (some) Dutch.

I'm having too much fun... Anyhow, chapter 3, on Germany, central Europe, and Scandinavia in the 15th-mid 18th centuries, was so long I split it into two documents. So here is chapter 3a, a little revised because of more work I've done, but which needs more. And now the much briefer chapter 3b, on Scandinavia.

The history of sword dancing in Spain appears to be distinct, and less fully researched as well than the Low Countries and central Europe. (Or maybe the fact that I don't read Spanish, and have had to rely on others' help, has kept me from locating new sources.) Well anyhow, here is chapter 4 on Spain and Portugal up to the mid-18th century.

Chapter 5 concerns the (relatively) early British references, though I haven't had the chance to absorb the references from Snettisham in 1541-3, which Peter Millington sent me. Nor some new works such as Georgina Boyes' paper in
Rattle Up. Well, online means everything can be in draft.

Next, chapter 6 covers the Low Countries in modern times. 
For modern France and Italy, chapter 7. And on Spain -- a wonderful country for sword dances, especially in the north -- chapter 8.

Perhaps my favorite chapter -- authors aren't supposed to admit this, but like parents, you always have a secret favorite -- is chapter 9, on the Austro-Hungarian (Habsburg) empire, which had a fascinating range of dances. 

While the complete revision is still in progress, the last 4 chapters will have to wait longer than 1-9. These are chapter 10 on modern Germany, 11 on England (a lot of work has been done by a lot of people in the last 15 years), 12 on the Shetland islands (Papa Stour), and 13 on recent and current developments. In fact, here is chapter 11, or at least the first part of it. Again, it will need a lot of rewriting to catch up with all the work done since the mid-1990s, when I was researching and writing my book.

In the ongoing spirit of experimentation, I'm going to start up page 3 with my online bibliography for the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library of EFDSS. Stay tuned!
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