Hone, William

Hone, William
   Best remembered by historians as an energetic and enthusiastic champion of liberty and equality and a trenchant critic of the political establishment of the day. As journalist, printer, publisher, book, and print-seller, he was involved in numerous campaigns, and was well known for his pamphlets and political squibs. Folklorists, however, remember him for his later works, the four thick volumes of miscellaneous material, commencing with The Every-Day Book. This was a weekly miscellany, launched in January 1825 and continuing to December 1827, which was then bound up into a two-volume set. It included a wide range of material, some of it linked to the calendar but much of it apparently stuck in where there was room, and it included a great deal of folklore in the form of calendar customs, saints' legends, superstitions, and general folk life. The serial publication allowed readers to become contributors, and Hone repeatedly urged his readers to collect information and send it in. Many of the most useful pieces are eyewitness accounts of local customs which would not otherwise have seen the light of day, and they save the books from being mere regurgitations of previous writers' material. Hone also had relatively high editorial standards for his time and insisted that his contributors give proper bibliographic references. The Every-Day Book became sufficiently popular for Hone to publish two sequels - The Table Book (1827) and The Year Book (1831-2). Again, the excellent engravings added to their charm. Hone's works thus joined those of Brand and Strutt as essential reading for the 19th-century antiquarian-folklorist, and are still very much in demand today. Other books written by Hone of particular interest to folk-lorists are Ancient Mysteries Described (1823), which was an examination of the Coventry mystery plays; and an edition of Strutt's Sports and Pastimes of the People of England (1830).
   ■ DNB; Dorson, 1968: 35-43.

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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