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The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies Paperback – 25 Jul 2008

4.1 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.; Dover Ed edition (25 July 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486466116
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486466118
  • Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 0.7 x 21.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,640 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Kirk is a magnificent dish to set before any student of either folk-lore or folk-psychology"--"The Times Literary Supplement"
"The importance of Robert Kirk's manuscript for a deeper understanding of late seventeenth-century Scottish beliefs about fairies and second sight is hard to exaggerate. There is simply no other source with such fulsome detail about the Guid Neighbours..."-"Folklore
""Kirk's 'Secret Commonwealth' is one of those books which are well known but hard to come by...His little treatise is a most careful and thorough piece of work, made the more so by the spirit in which it was written...The result is one of the completest descriptions extant of that special phase of popular belief."-"The Times Literary Supplement"
"ÝF¨illed with delightful maunderings on seers and second-sighters and 'glimpses of the moon'...""-The Critic
""ÝA¨ cult classic."-"The Glasgow Herald"

" A slim quarto-size book (like a paperback novel in boards) and less than a hundred pages of text, this New York Review of Books edition is the first in more than a century and contains a well-written introduction and end notes by Marina Warner. Also included is Kirk's own glossary of " difficult words, " in which we learn the 17th-century meanings of adscititious, defaecat, lychnobious and noctambulo." --"The Philadelphia Inquirer"
" Kirk is a magnificent dish to set before any student of either folk-lore or folk-psychology" --"The Times Literary Supplement"
" The importance of Robert Kirk's manuscript for a deeper understanding of late seventeenth-century Scottish beliefs about fairies and second sight is hard to exaggerate. There is simply no other source with such fulsome detail about the Guid Neighbours... " - "Folklore"
" Kirk's ' Secret Commonwealth' is one of those books which are well known but hard to come by... His little treatise is a most careful and thorough piece of work, made the more so by the spirit in which it was written... The result is one of the completest descriptions extant of that special phase of popular belief." - "The Times Literary Supplement"
" [F]illed with delightful maunderings on seers and second-sighters and ' glimpses of the moon' ... " "- The Critic"
" [A] cult classic." - "The Glasgow Herald"

"A slim quarto-size book (like a paperback novel in boards) and less than a hundred pages of text, this New York Review of Books edition is the first in more than a century and contains a well-written introduction and end notes by Marina Warner. Also included is Kirk's own glossary of "difficult words," in which we learn the 17th-century meanings of adscititious, defaecat, lychnobious and noctambulo." --"The Philadelphia Inquirer"
Kirk is a magnificent dish to set before any student of either folk-lore or folk-psychology"--"The Times Literary Supplement "
The importance of Robert Kirk s manuscript for a deeper understanding of late seventeenth-century Scottish beliefs about fairies and second sight is hard to exaggerate. There is simply no other source with such fulsome detail about the Guid Neighbours "Folklore "
Kirk s Secret Commonwealth is one of those books which are well known but hard to come by His little treatise is a most careful and thorough piece of work, made the more so by the spirit in which it was written The result is one of the completest descriptions extant of that special phase of popular belief. "The Times Literary Supplement"
"[F]illed with delightful maunderings on seers and second-sighters and glimpses of the moon " The Critic"
[A] cult classic. "The Glasgow Herald"" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Scottish clergyman Robert Kirk meticulously handwrote The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies in 1691. The seventh son of a large family, he was believed to have been gifted with second sight. Although poor, he went on to achieve a remarkable life, putting himself through school and eventually graduating from Saint Andrews University ― at the young age of 20 ― as a Doctor of Divinity.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This books is a good source of information on the little people and their lore, interesting.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent
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Extremely disappointing.
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Format: Paperback
This Extraordinary book is ruined by its terrible introduction and commentary by Andrew Lang which seems completely off the mark. For a well researched and thoroughly experiential commentary which delves deeply into the material presented in the text then look no further than R.J Stewart's excellent edition available on amazon:Robert Kirk: Walker Between the Worlds
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Format: Hardcover
It's great to see a reissue of the greatest fairy book of them all, Robert Kirk's 1691 tome, The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies. This amazing book--with its descriptions of second sight, of doublemen or co-walkers, and of fairy lives, customs and even past-times--has an amazing backstory attached to it too. Kirk, seventh son of a seventh son(in the Highlands, almost a guarantee of psychic powers) was a bilingual(English and Gaelic) Episcopalian pastor, working at Aberfoyle in the Trossachs area of the Highlands. The material he collected in this book comes direct from his Highland parishioners but he also compiled it for the delectation of his enlightened and curious friends in England, so the book is an eccentric mixture of the very folkoric and the proto-scientific. (Kirk also had a metaphysical reason for compiling the book--and an interesting one, given the attitude of many religious fundamentalists today to such beliefs. He felt that if people discounted or ridiculed such beliefs then it wouldn't be long before they started discounting all supernatural things, including a belief in God Himself.) Anyway, not long after the publication of the book, Kirk was found stone dead one morning at the foot of the Dun Sidh (doonshee, or fairy hill) at Aberfoyle. Though his red sandstone gravestone is in the Aberfoyle cemetery(with only a mention of his work in translating the Bible into Gaelic, and not his fairy work), it's said that his body is not in that grave but that he was spirited body and soul into the great tall Scots pine that sits at the top of the Dun Sidh, surrounded by an army of little oaks. That was because the fairies were reputedly so angry with him for divulging their secrets!Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
... written in the late 17th Century by a Scottish Episcopalian Minister with an apparently sincere belief in the world of the supernatural. At a time when witches were still being condemned, Robert Kirk was collecting the stories of his parishioners and fashioning them into an account of a parallel world of sprites, wraiths, fauns, elves and spirits. The book also includes an excellent introduction by Marina Warner.
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Format: Paperback
I've been curious about this book for a while and it was as charming as I had hoped. The Rev Robert Kirk must have been some man. It's just a shame that the 19th century introduction by Andrew Lang (which takes up a full 50% of this short book) is tediously repetitive and far more interested in psychic phenomenon than in fairy belief. This is a curio, probably only worth buying for those with some connection to the topic either through their heritage or their belief system. It will teach you only a little, but is an interesting read (assuming you skip the introduction).
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a lovely clean reprint of an indispensable volume of accounts of faerie in the late 1600's. Definitely recommended; earlier editions are either terribly expensive or impossible to find.
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