The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries Paperback – 5 Jul 2010
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From the Back Cover
What are fairies, those romantic and sometimes mischievous little people-- pixies, nixies, elves, fauns, brownies, dwarfs, leprechauns, and all the other forms of the daoine sidhe (fairy people)? Are they real? Folklorists say they are fragments of ancient religious beliefs; occultists call them nature spirits; the peasant tradition says they are fallen angels who were not good enough to be saved or bad enough to be lost.
Dr. Evans-Wentz is best known as the author-translator of "The Tibetan Book of the Dead", but his first love was this book, which presents a body of tradition and testimony about an elusive order of life that survives in the natural setting of wild and lonely places. He was not satisfied with merely formal study, but collected first-hand reports of fairies in Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Brittany, and faced up to the key questions avoided by other folklorists. Dr. Evans-Wentz, whose journeys led him from the haunts of fairyland to the wilderness of Tibet, opens a path for us to the luminous reality behind the traditions of folklore. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Evans-Wents, Jesus College Oxford. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Unhappily this particular edition is flawed with spelling errors on almost every page making it at times confusing to read. The illustrations and layout make it enjoyable but in all honesty I cannot recommend it as wholeheartedly as I would like to have done. A little more effort on the proof-reading would have made this a lovely volume. Sadly lack of effort at this stage of production has let down the rest of the work.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
After presenting a mass of information on the modern faery faith, he goes on to relate the ancient faery beliefs held by the Celts of old, as recorded in their mythology. Many pages are devoted to the adventures of CuChulainn, Arthur, Bran, and other figures who moved in and out of the Otherworld. He also discusses the Otherworld itself, the misty land where the faeries, the gods, and the dead dwelled. Especially stunning is his assertion that the Celts participated in mysteries much like those of Eleusis. The mythological evidence IS THERE, as Evans-Wentz proves. I only wish someone in those days had written something down to indicate whether or not this is true!
This is the best book ever written on the fae, IMHO. It ought to be on every Celtophile's shelf right next to Squire's _Celtic Myth and Legend_. As a matter of fact, the two books make excellent companions for one another.
There is no book on this subject I have found that equals it.
This is a testament in itself, as this was first published around 1890.
Wentz was an academic, a scholar, yet in early chapters his descriptions of each area of the Isles is breathtaking. It's not dry, it's not stuffy. He spent years collecting encounters, traditions, and beliefs from the most correct source. The people themselves. This contrasts rightfully the tendancy (even more so these days with anything Celtic especially) to project things onto a culture it does not contain. No frilly, watered down, ... little creatures at your beck and call here, which is what other "authors" would have you believe.
For some, the latter chapters of this book will seem a bit dry compared to the first. Regardless of what you think of his theories, they are all intriguing, and well thought out by the author, though I agree he became a bit enchanted himself during the writing. (not a bad thing, IMO, I was enchanted as well) The collection of tales alone is worth the price. I enjoyed every page.
This should be on the shelf of anyone who says they want to learn about Faeries, Celts, and the cultures they came from.
Why read what any old outsider says? Read the words of the people who were born and raised in these cultures. They know themselves better than anyone else, no?
An even worse crime against Evans-Wentz's work is the incompetent typesetting. Even a casual glance reveals howlers: "uncivilized" has become "tin-civilized"; "Karnak" is turned into "Karnab." Was there even a cursory attempt at proofreading? A professional publisher wouldn't have let this monstrosity see the light of day.
If you buy books just to keep them on the shelf, this edition may be fine for you. If actually intend to read this book, find another edition.