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on 17 August 2013
I enjoyed this book under the title of 'At the bottom of the garden' and now I see from another review that it has been packaged again as 'Fairies and fairy stories'. Is this done to be deliberately misleading ? If it were not for Amazon reviews I could have bought the same book 3 times.
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on 19 November 2015
Yawn. For someone who is a professor the writer sure does meaning monger and leap to an awful lot of conclusions. If you're expecting an academically rigorous text this is not it. She blames our fascination with fairies on Repression Of Girlieness By Teh Evil Feminists several times (really?!) and I can't see the point of adding the alien stuff - clutching at straws. A chewy and often dry read scattered with some interesting facts (like the one that there is a saint in the Catholic cannon who happens to be a greyhound) but really not worth the effort.
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on 20 July 2001
This is one of the most enjoyable works of cultural history I've read -- a book which takes fairies seriously as a manifestation of certain persistent human fears and desires, without going in for the ignorant sentimental pseudo-pagan sub-Glastonbury waffle the subject sometimes attracts. Purkiss really *knows* about the origins of fairy beliefs & their dissemination and mutation across history. Her criminal lack of enthusiasm for A Midsummer Night's Dream is the only blot on what is otherwise one of the best intellectual books for a wide readership which I've read; this is a wise, humane, intelligent, exciting and funny book.
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on 15 November 2003
This book is a fascinating read on the cultural aspects of the world of fairies and how they have permeated artistic and literary production. Purkiss is a brilliant scholar who offers extremely interesting readings of medieval romances and early modern texts (notably Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest). The chapters on Victorian times present a superb juxtaposition of the teatrical productions and the social background. Recommended for all readers interested in a view of fairies beyond the tales.
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on 4 March 2015
Full of accademic informationand while a very interesting read.
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on 14 February 2001
In many ways this should have been an excellent book. The author knows part of her subject very well, but there are strange omissions, such as no mention of some of the key writers like Hartland or Keightley. And some of the material on the X-Files seems to be thrown in for no good reason. But worst of all the author seems to miss the point about faery lore, and is often scathing of anyone who takes it seriously and is more open minded than she is. Compare this book with the much better Strange and Secret Peoples, where the author is fair and empathic with views that she may not share, but at least doesn't rubbish.
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