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At the Bottom of the Garden A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Nymphs, and Other Troublesome Things

ISBN-10: 0814766862
ISBN-13: 9780814766866
Edition: N/A
Authors: Diane Purkiss
List price: $26.00
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Description: "Enchanting . . . witty . . . full of surprises and delights." The Times "Fascinating . . . a monstrous, magnificent fairy ride . . . Purkiss writes about nymphs and lamiae, about demons and familiars, about fairground freaks and Lost Boys, about ET  More...

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Book details

List price: $26.00
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 11/1/2003
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 356
Size: 5.00" wide x 7.50" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.550
Language: English

"Enchanting . . . witty . . . full of surprises and delights." The Times "Fascinating . . . a monstrous, magnificent fairy ride . . . Purkiss writes about nymphs and lamiae, about demons and familiars, about fairground freaks and Lost Boys, about ET and dead Elvis . . . both splendidly scholarly and breezily accessible." Sunday Times "Fascinating . . . rigorously researched . . . highly recommended." Choice "Illuminating and enormous fun." Spectator "Elegantly written and witty." The Times "A clever, bold and enriching study of an absorbing subject . . . a book that anybody intrigued by the history of the little people and their origins ought to read." Literary Review "Witty, eccentric and seductive . . . written with a rich generosity of spirit." Sunday Telegraph At the Bottom of the Gardenis a history of fairies from the ancient world to the present. Steeped in folklore and fantasy, it is a rich and diverse account of the part that fairies and fairy stories have played in culture and society. The pretty pastel world of gauzy-winged things who grant wishes and make dreams come trueas brought to you by Disney's fairies flitting across a woodland glade, or Tinkerbell's magic wandis predated by a darker, denser world of gorgons, goblins, and gellos; the ancient antecedents of Shakespeare's mischievous Puck or J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. For, as Diane Purkiss explains in this engrossing history, ancient fairies were born of fear: fear of the dark, of death, and of other great rites of passage, birth and sex. To understand the importance of these early fairies to pre-industrial peoples, we need to recover that sense of dread. This book begins with the earliest manifestations of fairies in ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean. The child-killing demons and nymphs of these cultures are the joint ancestors of the medieval fairies of northern Europe, when fairy figures provided a bridge between the secular and the sacred. Fairies abducted babies and virgins, spirited away young men who were seduced by fairy queens and remained suspended in liminal states. Tamed by Shakespeare's view of the spirit world, Victorian fairies fluttered across the theater stage and the pages of children's books to reappear a century later as detergent trade marks and alien abductors. In learning about these often strange and mysterious creatures, we learn something about ourselves our fears and our desires.

Diane Purkiss is Fellow and Tutor in English at Keble College, Oxford.

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