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Irish Fairy and Folk Tales (Modern Library Classics) [Paperback]

W.B. Yeats

Price: 11.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

28 Mar 2003 Modern Library Classics
Since 1917 The Modern Library prides itself as the modern library of the world s Best Books . Its paperback series feature treasured classics, major translations of great works, and rediscoveries of keen literary and historical merit. Featuring introductions by leading writers, stunning translations, scholarly endnotes and reading group guides. Production values emphasize superior quality and readability. Competitive prices, coupled with exciting cover design make these an ideal gift to be cherished by the avid reader. Gathered by the renowned Irish poet, playwright, and essayist William Butler Yeats, the sixty-five tales and poems in this delightful collection uniquely capture the rich heritage of the Celtic imagination. Filled with legends of village ghosts, fairies, demons, witches, priests, and saints, these stories evoke both tender pathos and lighthearted mirth and embody what Yeats describes as ''the very voice of the people, the very pulse of life.''

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library Inc; New edition edition (28 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812968557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812968552
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.3 x 2.1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 860,616 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"These folk-tales are full of simplicity and musical occurrences, for they are the literature of a class...who have steeped everything in the heart: to whom everything is a symbol." --William Butler Yeats

''The impact of these tales doesn t stop with Yeats, or Joyce, or Oscar Wilde, for generations of readers in Ireland and throughout the world have found them flourishing like those persistent fairy thorns.'' --Paul Muldoon

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Growing up in the 1950s in Northern Ireland, I had any number of opportunities to experience the fairy faith. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating look at the tradition of folklore in Ireland. 20 May 2004
By Monika - Published on
In this delightful volume, first published in 1892, William Butler Yeats has collected all manner of Irish folklore (mostly short stories, with a few poems) from a wide variety sources. He has divided the works into categories as follows: the "Trooping Fairies" (fairies, changelings, and the "merrow" or mermaids); the "Solitary Fairies" (the lepracaun, the pooka - an animal spirit, and the banshee); "Ghosts"; "Witches & Fairy Doctors"; "T'yeer-na-n-Oge" or "Tir-na-n-Og" (a legendary island said to appear and disappear); "Saints & Priests"; "The Devil"; "Giants"; and "Kings / Queens / Princesses / Earls / Robbers." Yeats introduces each section with background information on the creature the stories in that category will concern. He also includes numerous footnotes of interest, making this book a valuable resource for anyone seeking to learn about the tradition of Irish folklore.
While I have given this anthology a five-star rating based on it's value as a source of information on Irish mythology, it would probably be worth only four stars for entertainment value alone. Some of the stories are very short and/or don't have much of a point, and are less interesting. These tend to serve more as testimony to the nature of a particular mythical being rather than being an actual story with a plot and message for the reader. Nevertheless, the book as a whole offers a very comprehensive look at just what defines Irish folk culture. The stories that do have a point sometimes take the form of "how things came to be this way" tales, or provide a moral lesson, etc. Many of the stories are rather dark, as that tends to be the nature of lore from this region, but there are also some lighthearted and cheerful pieces.
Despite the book having been compiled more than one hundred years ago, most of the stories are quite easy to read. Yeats makes things even more simple for the reader by making footnotes where old Irish words or phrases are used, giving us their meaning. However, there are a few stories that have been left in a more archaic form, which is distracting and a bit harder to decipher. Take, for example, the following excerpt:
". . . the minit he puts his knife into the fish, there was a murtherin' screech, that you'd the life id lave you if you hurd it, and away jumps the throut out av the fryin'-pan into the middle o' the flure; and an the spot where it fell, up riz a lovely lady - the beautifullest crathur that eyes ever seen, dressed in white, and a band o' goold in her hair, and a sthrame o' blood runnin' down her arm" (pg. 46).
I should probably make note of the fact, for those whom it might interest, that although the title page says the book is "profusely illustrated," there are actually only a few pictures. I believe only six of the over seventy stories are illustrated, and these with simple (but nice), old-fashioned line drawings in black and white. However this is not really a criticism as I view it, since I like the book for its literary content and wouldn't really care if it had no pictures at all.
One of the things I enjoy most about literature is finding connections with other works I've read, and "Irish Fairy & Folk Tales" does not disappoint in this regard. Many of the pieces are derivations of other, more common fairy tales. For instance, "Smallhead and the King's Sons" (Ghosts / pg. 194) incorporates some elements from both "Cinderella" and "Hansel and Gretel," while "The Giant's Stairs" (Giants / pg. 355) has some similarities to the story of "Jack and the Beanstalk." There are more connections like this. On the whole I found this book to be very enjoyable, and also a valuable read from a literary / academic standpoint. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone interesting in the history of Irish culture, the study of fairy tales and folklore, or both.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book! 7 July 2005
By G. Messersmith - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Yeats has long been one of my favorite poets; however, I did not expect his re-telling of Irish Fairy and Folk Tales to be up to his poetry standard. With that said, let me say he does an excellent job re-telling these old stories and if you have any interest whatsoever in fairy tales or Irish Mythology, read this book. "The Trooping Fairies" and "Witches, Fairy Doctors" were 2 of my favorite chapters but overall the whole book is a delight to read. It's an easy read, some stories are funny, some are scary, but most are just entertaining. Also there are some poems mixed in with the stories which add to the story-telling. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely charming! 2 Nov 2005
By Siobhan Olaoghaire Sannes - Published on
This absolutely charming collection of stories truly represents the best of "fairy" tales in which the fairy folk feature prominantly as well as a number of other folk beasties. WB Yeats has managed to capture all of the humor, fright, and love involved in the fairy world and it is a joy to follow him around in a world he seems to know so well.
1.0 out of 5 stars Read Below 7 May 2014
By Jim in Alabama - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am of Irish ancestry and am interested in Irish history and folklore. Since this was a book compiled be WB Yeats, i thought it would be an interesting read. I enjoyed the stories, but......

The copy of the book I recieved was so poorly printed, the right side pages were just about illegible, I thought about returning the book, but did not pick it up to read until after the 30-day return period. The illegiblity made the whole book a disaster in my mind and can only rate this book one star--if that much.
4.0 out of 5 stars A window into Irish lore 5 Jan 2011
By Eileen - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I owned this book and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it with my family at Christmas. It is amusing and delightful to read for short periods of time. It also gave me an insight to my heritage and the Irish gift
for writing.

Amazon did an amazing job getting the five books to their destination in New Jersy in a timely manner. Thanks.

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