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Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness
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Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  89 Ratings  ·  12 Reviews
Teeming with creatures, both real and imagined, this encyclopedic study in cultural history illuminates the hidden web of connections between the Victorian fascination with fairies and their lore and the dominant preoccupations of Victorian culture at large. Carole Silver here draws on sources ranging from the anthropological, folkloric, and occult to the legal, ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 14th 1999 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published January 14th 1998)
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Community Reviews

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Chris
In honor of Spain winning the World Cup I will write this review entirely in Spanish.


Wait, I don't know Spanish. Sigh.

Okay, go to one of those translator page things, and plug this in.

Silver's book is a good in depth look at the view that the Victorians had about fairy, folklore, and how such topics related to current events. I will say that the first chapter was a tough read. It was rather dull, but the infromation is needed for later in the book. The themes of the last chapter were detail with
...more
Willow
Jul 17, 2007 Willow rated it liked it
Shelves: folklore, non-fiction
Silver's study on the reception and belief in and about of fairy folk in Victorian culture was well researched if biased. I found the author's continual criticisms of "folklorists" annoying when her research clearly falls under the same category. However, I enjoyed her discussions of art and literature and found her interpretations interesting. I especially liked her work on changelings and the way in which she related changelings to Dickens's novels. I wouldn't recommend this for a pleasure ...more
Steve Cran
Feb 20, 2013 Steve Cran rated it really liked it
Strange and Secret Peoples is a book not only about Faeries but also about the Victorian beliefs and attitudes towards faeries. The Victorian beliefs tell us not only about faerie but also about the people who believed those beliefs. Victorian England could be a very racist, class conscious, sexist and snobbish. It was around the Victorian time that England's Empire was expanding and putting her into contact with new people and cultures. Many of them with far different customs and darker skins. ...more
Michael Burnam-Fink
Aug 28, 2015 Michael Burnam-Fink rated it really liked it
Strange and Secret People is solid piece of scholarship concerning the relationship between Victorian folklorists and fairies. Silver discusses what fairies represented in the immense intellectual turmoil of the period. The chapters cover topics like the creation of a British national culture palatable to the native elites, rather than imported French or German stories, as well as fairies as representations of anxieties about female sexuality, the lower classes, disabled children, and the pains ...more
Douglas Summers-Stay
Sep 26, 2014 Douglas Summers-Stay rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a series of academic essays by Carole Silver about the history and meaning of fairy-lore to the Victorians. I read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and wanted to know more about what the people of that time believed about fairies, why they believed it, and what it meant about their society. It talks about changelings, fairy brides, fairy people as foreign tribes, spiritual explanations, and so forth.
One idea I found interesting was the tradition that when the devils were cast out of heav
...more
Benjamin
Jan 21, 2013 Benjamin rated it liked it
While this is a nice survey of literary, cultural, and artistic representations of fairies in the long 19th century, the analytical aspects of the work are lacking. Silver relies on easy assertions as well as quick "perhaps this, perhaps that" comments on the motivations behind her subjects' choices, and this really renders the work to be less-than-convincing as a document of the anxieties and concerns that structured Victorian fairy paintings, stories, and folklore collections. She should have ...more
H. Anne Stoj
Nov 15, 2012 H. Anne Stoj rated it liked it
It's probably closer to a 3.5 rating for me. I found the first, second, and fifth chapters to be the most interesting and helpful. I've liked to see the illustrations in color as many of them are paintings and the resolution isn't the best.
Bridgett
Oct 16, 2008 Bridgett rated it really liked it
A bit dry, and negative about folklorists, but very educational into the darker sides of fairy kind. Definitely a different approach from a lot of books on fairies, which made it interesting.
Lisa Spangenberg
Particularly good regarding "changeling" motifs, including the diseased/sick/atypical child as "changeling."
Jeremiah Genest
Feb 26, 2008 Jeremiah Genest rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairy
Fascinating discussion of supernatural creatures in the Victorian age. Draws widely and is incredibly thorough.
Louise
Sep 24, 2011 Louise rated it it was amazing
This presented interesting information I had not seen before. There is speculation about the role of women in society and the coonection with the fears men had.
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Carole G. Silver is Professor of English and holds the Humanities Chair at Yeshiva University (Stern College). She is also Adjunct Professor of English at New York University. Among her publications are The Romance of William Morris and The Earthly Paradise: Arts and Crafts by William Morris
More about Carole G. Silver...

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