15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A huge treasury of folklore,
This review is from: The Lore of the Land: A Guide to England's Legends, from Spring-heeled Jack to the Witches of Warboys (Paperback)
This massive book - even in paperback - gives the reader a county-by-county reference to every folktale, legend and story the authors can track down. Each county starts with a map, keying the location and giving the type of tale with a series of symbols, making it extremely easy to pick out the tales of an area. Within the chapter, the arrangement is alphabetically by placename. Engravings and photos are embedded in the text; for example a photo of a real "hand of glory" from Whitby museum illustrates a tale about its use during a burglary in the 19th century at Old Spital Inn in Co Durham.
Digressions - printed on contrasting paper - are buried in the main text, Shakespeare for instance in Warwickshire. These mini essays, of which there are many, are picked out in the index with page numbers in bold type. However there some eccentricities which make the information harder to use than it might be; there is an excellent essay on the folklore of King Lear, as used by Shakespeare in his play, but this is indexed under "Leir, King" and placed in the chapter on Leicestershire because of a little-known suggestion that he is buried at Leicester. The essay on Shakespeare doesn't reference it, as it covers legends ABOUT Shakespeare. The Leir essay cross-refernces to the entry on KING LUD'S ENTRENCHMENTS but doesn't give the page number, so you have to go to the index again to find it. The type throughout varies from the very small to the incredibly tiny, and the book unwieldily thick, so this toing and froing is no small matter.
These are minor quibbles about an otherwise excellent book. The index does enable the reader - or at least the reader with preternaturally keen eyesight - to find legends by subject, which is a huge bonus. Look on the book as rather like the Pitt Rivers museum in Oxford; a huge resource, sometimes requiring you to get out your torch and peer closely at things.
The Lore of the Land: A Guide to England's Legends, from Spring-heeled Jack to the Witches of Warboys(20 customer reviews)
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