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A Woeful Sinner's Fall: ballads of execution

 Una McIlverna 140x140

Dr Una McIlvenna,  Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, will feature on ABC Radio Nationals" 'Into the Music' program.

A Woeful Sinner's Fall:  ballads of execution
This truly gruesome program explores the phenomenon of the execution ballad-the printed pamphlet telling, in song, the story of the crime and of the condemned.  These songs tell of the descent into vice, give account of the crime in all its appalling detail and purport to give voice to the true repentance of the doomed sinner.  In what was a profitable line of business for early printers, the songs were declaimed by the ballad seller and spruiked to the crowd gathered to see the offender put to death.

Una McIlvenna is a post-doctoral research fellow with the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions.  She's investigating emotional responses to public execution in the early modern period and is particularly interested in the use of song and verse in accounts of execution.  In this program, Una talks (and sings) to Robyn Johnston.  We also hear readings of contemporary accounts of the execution ballad trade and delve into the Old Bailey's archives to hear how ballad sellers were no strangers to the seamy underbelly of early modern society.
Producer:  Robyn Johnston
Sound engineer: David Le May


Date and time:

4.05pm Saturday 15 December

(repeated 9.05pm Monday 17 December 2012)

ABC Radio National: 
Find your local frequency here   

For four weeks after broadcast, this program will also be available for streaming from www.abc.net.au/rn/intothemusic