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Studies in Fairy Traditions: Virtual Special Issue 8, 2017

Virtual Special Issues of Folklore

Folklore Virtual Special Issues are unique collections of articles, editorials, and podcasts, handpicked by the journal editor Jessica Hemming.

Each issue examines a particular theme within the discipline of folklore, offering original insights into a range of fascinating and curious topics.

Listen to Juliette Wood’s 2017 podcast introduction to the list of featured articles from Folklore on Fairy Traditions. All of the articles are free to download by Folklore Society members.

Excerpt from the podcast:

In the seventeenth century, the Oxford antiquarian John Aubrey famously predicted the imminent demise of the fairies. Despite Aubrey’s fears however, fairies have proved surprisingly resilient, and fairy lore has provided a fruitful area of investigation for contributors to the journal Folklore since its founding in the late nineteenth century. 

Interest in fairy traditions reflects, at least in part, the increased interest of the Victorian and Edwardian eras with its reaction to industrialization and move towards fantasy and mysticism. Alfred Nutt devoted one of his presidential lectures to ‘Fairy Mythology’ in English literature (Nutt 1897). The lecture focused on their important role in English and Shakespearean literature and their links to Celtic tradition. In addition, Nutt also laid the groundwork for a more general discussion of what he described as ‘the essential conceptions which underlie generally that mythology, and from which it derives force and sanction’ (31).  His use of the term ‘mythology’ underscored the importance attached to this body of tradition and to the perception that there was a coherent and recoverable body of beliefs underpinning narratives about fairies. Even before Nutt’s influential address, articles on fairy lore had appeared in the Society’s journal. Walter Gregor, a founding member of The Folklore Society, published accounts of Scottish fairies (Gregor 1883). The Swansea-based solicitor and folklorist, Sidney Hartland, presented Welsh material (Hartland 1888).

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Featured Articles from Folklore

The Fairy Mythology of English Literature by Alfred Nutt, vol. 8/1, 1897

Some Late Accounts of the Fairies by Katharine M. Briggs, vol. 72/3, 1961

Shakespeare and the Fairies by Roger L. Green, vol. 73/2, 1962

Filming Fairies: Popular Film, Audience Response and Meaning in Contemporary Fairy Lore by Juliette Wood, vol. 107/3, 2006

A History of the Fairy Investigation Society, 1927–1960 by Simon Young, vol. 124/2, 2013

Research Article: Believers, Sceptics, and Charlatans: Evidential Rhetoric, the Fairies, and Fairy Healers in Irish Oral Narrative and Belief by Timothy Corrigan Correll, vol. 116/1, 2005

The Scouring of the Shire: Fairies, Trolls and Pixies in Eco-Protest Culture by Andy Letcher, vol. 112/2, 2001

Further Reading, articles from Folklore

European Fairy Lore in the New World by Wayland D. Hand, vol. 92/2, 1981

Fairies and the Folklore of Disability: Changelings, Hybrids and the Solitary Fairy by Susan Schoon Eberly, vol. 99/1, 1988

Status of the Offspring of the Human-Fairy Marriage by H.N. Gibson, vol. 64/1, 1953

Dafydd William Dafydd and the Fairies by E. Sidney Hartland, Folk-Lore Journal, vol. 6/1, 1888

Stories of Fairies from Scotland by Rev. Walter Gregor, Folk-Lore Journal, vol. 1/1, 1883

Were Fairies an Earlier Race of Men? by J.A. MacCulloch, vol. 43/4, 1932

The English Fairies by Katharine M. Briggs, vol. 68/1, 1957

The Fairy Economy As it may be deduced from a Group of Folk Tales by Katharine M. Briggs, vol. 70/4, 1959