The Lore of the Land: A Guide to England's Legends, from Spring-heeled Jack to the Witches of Warboys Paperback – 28 Sep 2006
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A real treasury...I'm sure I shall plunder it for years to come. -- Philip Pullman. 6th November, 2005
It appears to contain almost every myth, legend and ghost story ever told in England...a wonderful dipping book. -- Simon Hoggart, The Guardian, 12 November, 2005 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Author
Most people, when they read a book like this, are reminded of stories they know, about the places they live(d) in. We would love to hear these. Please send them to me*, telling me who you are, how long you lived in the place you are talking about, and who told you the tradition or where you read it. Send as much information as you can. It helps us build up background history. We cant tell a lot from our pub is haunted but we can from my grandfather used to say especially if you put in your grandads dates.
And if youve spotted anything weve got wrong please tell me that too.
Jennifer Westwood --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Highly recommended - this is the most accurate and thorough book I have seen on the subject. Not cheap but worth it.
I chose this book for my prizegiving and I was certainly not disappointed. It is really interesting and logically laid out and the beautiful photos and the sheer amount of information contained within it are astounding. It is quite thick with small print in order to fit as much as possible in it. Great stuff x
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.
It works on various levels too. If you are touring or visiting England, or if you live here and want to delve into the legendary and curious aspects of England then just buy this book. It is also thorough enough to be an important source for researchers.
It's also dedicated to the wonderful Katharine Briggs.
Until now the English tradition has lacked a one-volume collection of local and historical legends that can stand alongside the classic English fairy tale collections of Joseph Jacobs, in the same way that the Grimms' fairy tales were matched with their own great collection of German legends. Maybe this is a fair reflection of their relative value. Fairy tales are told knowingly as fiction, and so are more deeply escapist - hence they are steeped in a greater sense of hope, or belief in a higher order of things. Local and historical legends tell what is believed to be true, shading into real history, so can at times depict life more cruelly closed in. I guess this is most apparent in the fear and superstition which underlies many witch-legends. A local legend might tell of a famous witch and her downfall, reinforcing the superstitions of those who persecuted her; but even a lonely outcast who is victimized as a witch could be comforted by a fairy tale.
But that's being a bit too gloomy! Legendary tales deal with so many other things, too, and the sheer range of this book prevents any claustrophobia. There are stories of ancient kings and battles; dragons; giants and ghosts; highwaymen; the landscape itself.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I’m finding it difficult to write a review of this book, as it has all the information about folklore, traditions, etc. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Donald
This is a difficult book to read, as a reference piece it might be of some use but only if your willing to spend a lot of time hunting for something. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dazzo
This collection of English folklore is very comprehensive indeed! It's a massive tome - a way bigger book than I was expecting! Read morePublished 15 months ago by CLINT McGAVIN
A useful read if you are interested in folklore, local or otherwise. A bit more detail would have provided the 5th star.Published 16 months ago by BevRen
A wonderful book and an absolute to read! (Not from cover to cover, but piecemeal - on the toilet, for instance.) A little gem of a story on every page.Published 18 months ago by Leon van Schoonneveldt
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