This introductory chapter begins with a description of the life and works of Peter Buchan. Buchan was born in Peterhead in 1790. He published his first book in 1814, a small volume of songs and verses, which was not well received. In 1828, he published two volumes of Ancient Ballads and Songs of the North of Scotland, hitherto unpublished, with Explanatory Notes, which was favorably received, selling out within a few months. This Introduction then discusses the bawdy tradition, Buchan as an editor, his manuscript (Secret Songs of Silence), and the songs in the manuscript. The Introduction also includes a partial bibliography of Buchan’s works.
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