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Morag Josephine Grant

Published On


Page Range

pp. 139-160

Print Length

21 pages

7. The Folk’s Song

Chapter of: Auld Lang Syne: A Song and its Culture(pp. 139–160)
Drawing on a diverse range of references and sources, this chapter explores the further dissemination of the song, and the meanings it had, from around the mid-nineteenth century to that century’s end. It discusses the appearance of the song in Charles Dickens’ novel David Copperfield and in the writing of Thomas Hardy, Mark Twain and others. It looks at the high number of sets of instrumental variations on the song published in the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, and considers whether or not Auld Lang Syne is the solution to the riddle of Elgar’s Enigma Variations. The iconography of the song is also considered, as is the way the phrase “auld lang syne” was used by artists, writers and others in this period. The chapter closes on the threshold of the information revolution, showing how Auld Lang Syne became linked with the very first demonstrations of telephone communication and sound recording.