Ballads as Vessels for Collective Cultural Memory: A Critical Comparison of Alfred Noyes’s “The Highwayman” and Federico García Lorca’s “Romance sonámbulo”

Keywords: ballad, memory, twentieth-century poetry, Spain, England


Alfred Noyes’s “The Highwayman” (1906) and Federico García Lorca’s “Romance sonámbulo” (1928), two early twentieth-century ballad poems, serve as literary vessels for the collective memory of historical periods and share aesthetic and narrative similarities. Common images and colors (red, green) also illustrate both texts. The shared imagery calls attention to the ballads’ roles in preserving and transmitting collective memories. This study references the way that ballads stabilize in cultural memory, in line with David Rubin’s assessments of memory and literature in Memory in Oral Traditions (1995), as well as the studies of other scholars (e.g., Benjamin, Boyd, Connerton).


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