Abstract

Many scholars point to Mopsa in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale as the gullible reader we like to think we are not. But her method might be more like our own than we like to admit. Both early modern consumers, then, and scholars of the period, now, join Mopsa in seeking some truths in ballads and in interrogating what kinds of truths printed broadside ballads might offer. Frances Dolan’s essay builds toward a case study of one ballad, “The Whipster of Woodstreet,” the forms of evidence it provides to the curious, then and now, and the reading practices it invites and rewards.

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