Broadside Ballads From The Pepys Collection. A Selection of Texts, Approaches, and Recordings, edited by Patricia Fumerton.
In its seventeenth-century heyday, the English broadside ballad was a single large sheet of paper printed on one side with multiple woodcut illustrations, a popular tune title, and a poem. Inexpensive, ubiquitous, and fugitive - individual elements migrated freely from one broadside to another - some 11,000 to 12,000 of these artefacts pre-1701 survive, though many others have undoubtedly been lost. Since 2003, Patricia Fumerton and a team of associates at the University of California, Santa Barbara have been finding, digitizing, cataloguing, and recording these materials to create the English Broadside Ballad Archive.
Samuel Pepys was an avid collector of broadside ballads, which were at the height of their popularity in the 1660s when Pepys was writing his diary.
The ballads tell us much of everyday life in the 17th century and often provided social commentary on events and fashions of the day.
"The book presents facsimiles of 155 songs. The volume opens with eleven short introductory pieces, concisely discussing balladry in all its aspects. There are two CDs slipped neatly into the front and back covers of the book." (Renaissance Quarterly: Vol. 68, No. 3, Fall 2015)