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The Fairies in Tradition and Literature
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The Fairies in Tradition and Literature

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Fairies fascinate young and old alike. To some they offer tantalizing glimpses of other worlds. to others a subversive counterpoint to human arrogance and weakness. Like no other author. Katharine Briggs throughout her work communicated the thrill and delight of the world of fairies. and in this book she articulated for the first time the history of that world in tradition ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 18th 1989 by Bellew Publishing Co Ltd (first published January 1st 1967)
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Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
This is a superb book!

Briggs surveys the fairy lore and literature of the British Isles with a sympathetic, shrewd eye. She has a strong sense of the aesthetics of wonder - of how the sublime and the uncanny are two sides of a coin that has no room for mere whimsy or easy didactic. This instinct for the aesthetics of the 'true' fairy is reliable - it's the chief reason why Briggs intuits that the Cottingley fairies are inauthentic. That, and the fact that they look suspiciously like sentimental
Mary Catelli
An overview. Assumes your basic knowledge of the facts, like the fluttery flower fairies are not the original conception. Indeed, she is careful to point out that the tiny fairies are indeed part of the tradition, as one of the oldest recorded accounts, of beings called Portunes, make them an inch high. Not that that size was commonplace.

Covers all sorts of topics. Like fairies attached to familes, apparent nature spirits like the Blue Hag that fights with Spring every year and when she loses, t
Briggs' described this book as a continuation of her book The Anatomy of Puck in which she examined fairies in relation to Shakespeare's work, as well as other writers of that time. It is a wonderful reference book and is a pleasure to read.

The text is divided into three units: The Fairy Peoples, Traffic With the Fairies, and Some Literary Fairies. It also contains a nice appendix with lists and definitions of fairy types and specific fairies. Last winter, this list was used by my niece (age 11)
Jason Gignac
Original Review here

So, it's not that I'm being lazy, but I'm rolling both of these reviews into one. I was going to write two, but the subject matter is so similar, and I really don't know if it's subject matter that will interest other people at all, and it just seemed easier, since I finished them a few days apart.

My nerdery is in full, giddy bloom with these two books! Quick synopsis. Both of these books are nonfiction, classics (more or less) in the field of folklore and mythology studies.
Provides a decent overview of fairy lore in the UK, but each topic is covered somewhat cursorily and Briggs at times assumes prior knowledge of the subject and/or the literary canon which is not necessarily warranted.
James T Kelly
Briggs is the authority on fairies and this book is fascinating if a little dense. It is difficult to chew through but very worth it if you have an interest in fairies.
Kate SeRine
Wasn't quite what I was expecting, but certainly a good one to have on the shelf.
E.J. Stevens
The most comprehensive book of fairy folklore in my library.

A must read.
A good handling of modern fairies in literature and the fairy faith.
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Goodreads Librari...: The Fairies in Tradition and Literature 2 14 Jun 30, 2014 10:24AM  
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  • Faery Tale: One Woman's Search for Enchantment in a Modern World
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  • Spirits, Fairies, Leprechauns, and Goblins: An Encyclopedia
  • A Field Guide to Irish Fairies
  • Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers
  • Fairies: Real Encounters With Little People
  • British Goblins: Welsh Folk Lore, Fairy Mythology, Legends and Traditions (1881)
  • El libro de Merlin. Un libro de magia, encantamientos y conjuros
  • The Coming of the Fairies
  • The Secret Commonwealth: An Essay of the Nature and Actions of the Subterranean (and, for the Most Part) Invisible People, Heretofore Going under the Name of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies
  • Popular Magic: Cunning-folk in English History
  • The Book of Ceremonial Magic
  • The Celtic Twilight: Faerie and Folklore
Early Life
Katharine Briggs was born in Hampstead, London in 1898, and was the eldest of three sisters. The Briggs family, originally from Yorkshire, had built up a fortune in the 18th and 19th centuries through coal mining and owned a large colliery in Normanton, West Yorkshire. With such enormous wealth, Katharine and her family were able to live in luxury with little need to work. Briggs's fathe
More about Katharine Mary Briggs...
Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, & Other Supernatural Creatures The Vanishing People: Fairy Lore and Legends Abbey Lubbers, Banshees, & Boggarts: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Fairies British Folk Tales and Legends: A Sampler Hobberdy Dick

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“There arose a wild, impetuous, precipitate, mad inexorable, furious, dark, lacerating, merciless, combative, contentious badb, which was shrieking and fluttering over their heads. And there arose also the satyrs, and sprites, and the maniacs of the valleys, and the witches, and goblins, and owls, and destroying demons of the air and firmament, and the demoniac phantom host; and they were inciting and sustaining valour and battle with them.” 1 likes
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