Happy New Year!
Yesterday the writings and visual art works of creators who died in the course of 1944 came out of copyright in Britain and the other EC countries. (This does not apply to any of their works that were first published posthumously, nor to translations that were published more recently, or were made by translators who are still alive, or who died less than 70 years ago.)
Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (b. 1863) was King Edward VII Professor of English Literature at Cambridge. He was a prolific author of fiction, poetry and literary criticism; he also compiled a number of anthologies. His Oxford Book of English Verse and Oxford Book of Ballads were both in the library of my grammar school in the sixties, and I devoured them like I devoured every other volume of poetry I laid hands on. From a scholarly point of view his Oxford Book of Ballads is deplorable; he did not hesitate to 'improve' texts, to merge different versions of the same ballad, and even to bowdlerize them. But I owe him a debt, nonetheless, for making such a substantial selection of ballads available and accessible. I read the book from end to end, over and over again.
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