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feefeedot
Registered User
(8/13/07 2:33 am)


"Fairy?"
I have been given a very broad essay topic to complete and I was hoping someone could give me a little info, starting point, links, push in the right direction?
My question is "What is meant by the term 'fairy'? I have to discuss with reference to its historical and cultural development.
Any suggestions would be appreciated. :\

MaryCatelli
Registered User
(8/13/07 5:09 pm)


Re: "Fairy?"
And nothing to limit it? Not whether you want in literature or folklore?

Humm. I would recommend Katharine Briggs's Encyclopedia of Fairies for that large a topic.

Erica Carlson
Registered User
(8/13/07 6:40 pm)


Re: "Fairy?"
Some more context might help us offer you better help, since this seems to be a large and complicated topic. Is this for a linguistics or history of the English language class, perhaps?

Right now I have the impression that one of the best places for you to start might be the Oxford English Dictionary, which should give you some idea of how the word has been used during different time periods. The sort of background info you could find in the OED might help to get you started along other paths of research.

Best of luck.

feefeedot
Registered User
(8/13/07 8:08 pm)


Re: "Fairy?"
It is in response to a unit based on traditional literature. My course is on origins and influences of fantasy on literature (childrens and adolescent).
Thanks for your interest, anything will be of help to get me moving.

Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(8/13/07 10:42 pm)


Lewis THE DISCARDED IMAGE
One very interesting and accessible source is Lewis's THE DISCARDED IMAGE, chapter on The Longaevi.

westolorin
Registered User
(8/16/07 12:18 pm)


Re: "Fairy?"
Are you doing an etymology paper? You should begin with the OED, I'm sure your school has a subscription. If not check etymology.com and it will tell you the full history of the word. Then you will have the responsibility of discussing the cultural impact. The transformation and association of the word with religion in the UK perhaps, how it became a part of queer culture, and perhaps even discuss the modern fixation with pixie sparkletags on the internet.

vlronn
Registered User
(8/18/07 7:19 am)


meaning of fairy
You should read J. R. R. Tolkien's "On Fairy-Stories." It is excellent. I believe there are several links that contain it if you Google it. He gives his own definition of Fairy.

Writerpatrick
Registered User
(8/18/07 12:03 pm)


Re: "Fairy?"
Wikipedia gives a fairly detailed and reasonably reliable explination as to the origin of the word. It seems to vary depending upon culture and geographic location.

Terri Windling
Registered User
(8/22/07 5:51 am)


Re: "Fairy?"
You'll find lots of material on fairies in the Autumn 2006 issue of the Journal of Mythic Arts: www.endicott-studio.com/j...index.html

The issue includes an article on the history of fairies in myth and literature: www.endicott-studio.com/r...iries.html
... plus articles on Italian fairies, Hungarian fairies, etc.

Good luck.



[edited to correct links. - tw]

Edited by: Terri Windling at: 8/22/07 5:52 am
catja1
Registered User
(9/20/07 2:22 pm)


Re: "Fairy?"
Here's some of the best books available on fairy lore. For your purposes, I think the Narvaez collection will work best, as it's based upon more recent collections; after that, the Briggs and Silver books in conjunction.

1. Katharine Briggs, Encyclopedia of Fairies
Briggs is *the* fairy lore scholar; while she's a touch outdated now, as far as some of her overarching ideas go, the actual information she provides on specific fairies is second to none. If you want to do *anything* with fairy lore, you have to know Briggs.

2. Carole Silver, Strange and Secret Peoples
After Briggs, I think this is the single most important text a student of fairy lore can read. The majority of fairy folklore was collected in the 19th century, and we are *still* dealing with the repercussions of Victorian folklore theorizing. You *need* this book to unpack the attitudes in many older collections of fairy lore (Keightley, Sikes, Crofton Croker, Yeats); since Briggs reproduces a lot of the older material, this is an essential companion book to the Encyclopedia. Buy them together, seriously.

3. D. L. Ashliman, Fairy Lore: A Handbook
A great summation of fairy lore and scholarship -- it's more an overview then an in-depth study, but he hits just about everything. Ashliman is one of the big-name folklorists, so he's very reliable. Unfortunately, this book is pretty expensive -- see if your local university library has it.

4. Peter Narvaez, ed. The Good People: New Fairylore Essays
This is an excellent recent essay collection by leading folklorists, that updates and complicates many of our ideas about fairies; there's great stuff in here about New World fairies (French Canadian), the role of fairies in contemporary Irish storytelling, and broader cultural assessments of the role of fairies in culture (one of the essays argues that aliens/UFOs now fill the role that fairies used to). The title is one of the common euphemisms for "fairies," as many folks refused to say anything so overt.

5. Diane Purkiss, At the Bottom of the Garden
Nice historical overview, that especially concentrates on the role played by fairies and fairy-like beings in disparate cultures. I don't agree with all her interpretations, but this is really thought-provoking. Also, Purkiss is a specialist in the 16-17th century witch trials, and her chapter on fairies in trial records of that period is excellent.

6. Angela Bourke, The Burning of Bridget Cleary
This is great if you're interested in specifically Irish material, as Bourke ties Irish fairy beliefs into larger issues and conditions of Ireland in the late 19th century, especially the perception of Ireland by outsiders (i.e, the English). The book centers around a famous murder case of 1895, where Bridget Cleary was burned to death by her husband, family and neighbors, in the belief that she was a changeling.

aka Greensleeves
Registered User
(9/20/07 2:39 pm)


Re: "Fairy?"
Since no one has mentioned Briggs's *other* excellent book on the subject, I will:

THE FAIRIES IN TRADITION AND LITERATURE. I found this much more helpful than her ENCYCLOPEDIA, actually. It's a book for reading straight through, not just gobbling up individual entries. It will put everything in context for you.

Wm B. Yeats's IRISH FOLK- AND FAIRY-TALES is a good companion read.

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