Opie, Iona and Peter

Iona (1923–2017) and Peter (1918–1982) Opie were a husband-and-wife team of English folklorists best known for the numerous books they published on childhood culture. Their research spanned adult-to-child traditions, such as folk tales, nursery rhymes and songs, and the peer traditions of school-aged children, ranging from language, verbal play, rhymes, customs, and beliefs to outdoor games, musical play, and outdoor games with playthings. The Opies adopted a historical approach to nursery lore, but in the period c.1950–1980 turned to ethnographic methods in order to document lore, language, and games from British children aged 6–14 years. Their books distilled these data into a series of classic studies, widely read by the general public as well as professionals and academics. The Opies’ research did much to ...

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