Tansys Golowan / Midsummer Bonfires
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  1. Merv Davey

    I am not sure I was guilty of bowdlerisation in my translation of Tansys Golowan so much as using Dunstan’s lyrics without checking the original. I did most of the translations for Hengan as a project during Cornish language classes in the late 1970s and I am sure my fellow students would have loved helping to translate the innuendo! Bowdlerisation is in the eye of the beholder. We now laugh at the early 20th century folk song collectors cleaning up lyrics they percieved as “gross” but have no compunction about not singing or changing the lyrics of songs that we percieve as offensive in 21st century. Folk tradition is a process of change rather than stasis and perhaps bowdlerisation and the impact of cultural sensitivities are part of this process.