At the Bottom of the Garden: A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Nymphs, and Other Troublesome Things

At the Bottom of the Garden: A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Nymphs, and Other Troublesome Things

4.0 1
by Diane Purkiss, Michael Thurston
     
 
"At the Bottom of the Garden is brilliant, always on the move, and bone-chilling. There's nothing cutesy about this highly suggestive, provocative scholarship; the creatures animating this book are about as cuddly as scorpions, wee rattlers, and black-widow spiders. Purkiss has written a witty and compelling work that will fascinate readers and haunt our imaginations

Overview

"At the Bottom of the Garden is brilliant, always on the move, and bone-chilling. There's nothing cutesy about this highly suggestive, provocative scholarship; the creatures animating this book are about as cuddly as scorpions, wee rattlers, and black-widow spiders. Purkiss has written a witty and compelling work that will fascinate readers and haunt our imaginations."
-James Kincaid, University of Southern California, author of Erotic Innocence
At the Bottom of the Garden is a history of fairies from the ancient world to the present. Steeped in folklore and fantasy, it is a rich and diverse account of the part that fairies and fairy stories have played in culture and society.
The pretty pastel world of gauzy-winged things who grant wishes and make dreams come true-as brought to you by Disney's fairies flitting across a woodland glade, or Tinkerbell's magic wand-is predated by a darker, denser world of gorgons, goblins, and gellos; the ancient antecedents of Shakespeare's mischievous Puck or J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. For, as Diane Purkiss explains in this engrossing history, ancient fairies were born of fear: fear of the dark, of death, and of other great rites of passage, birth and sex. To understand the importance of these early fairies to pre-industrial peoples, we need to recover that sense of dread.
This book begins with the earliest manifestations of fairies in ancient civilizations of the Mediterranean. The child-killing demons and nymphs of these cultures are the joint ancestors of the medieval fairies of northern Europe, when fairy figures provided a bridge between the secular and the sacred. Fairies abducted babies and virgins, spirited away young men who were seduced by fairy queens and remained suspended in liminal states.
Tamed by Shakespeare's view of the spirit world, Victorian fairies fluttered across the theater stage and the pages of children's books to reappear a century later as detergent trade marks and alien abductors. In learning about these often strange and mysterious creatures, we learn something about ourselves-our fears and our desires.

Author Biography: Author of The Witch in History, Diane Purkiss was formerly Professor of English at Exeter University and is now Fellow and Tutor at Keble College, Oxford.

Editorial Reviews

Choice
Fascinating.....Rigorously researched.....Highly recommended.
Publishers Weekly
Anyone who has ever thought that fairies are 'tiresome little wingy thingies who are always good' will be swiftly disabused of that notion by this historical study. A British author (The Witch in History) and currently a fellow and tutor at Keble College, Oxford, Purkiss has prodigiously researched her subject, producing a scholarly overview of the role that fairies have played in culture from the past to the present.
Booknews
The pastel Disney world of tiny gauzy-winged creatures who make wishes and dreams come true is predated by a darker, denser world of gorgons, goblins and the gellos, warns Purkiss (English, Oxford U.). She begins her account in ancient civilization of the Mediterranean, and chronicles centuries of abducting babies, killing children and virgins, seducing young men, and finally alien abductions. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
“. . . a scholarly overview of the role that fairies have played in culture from the past to the present.”
-Publishers Weekly

“Illuminating and enormous fun.”
-Spectator

At the Bottom of the Garden is brilliant, always on the move, and bone-chilling. There's nothing cutesy about this highly suggestive, provocative scholarship; the creatures animating this book are about as cuddly as scorpions, wee rattlers, and black-widow spiders. Purkiss has written a witty and compelling work that will fascinate readers and haunt our imaginations.”
-James Kincaid,University of Southern California, author of Erotic Innocence

“Fascinating. . . . Rigorously researched. . . . Highly recommended.”
-Choice(Nov. 2001)

“Enchanting . . . witty . . . full of surprises and delights.”
-The Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814766835
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
01/01/2001
Pages:
356
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 5.00(h) x 1.29(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

“Fascinating. . . . Rigorously researched. . . . Highly recommended.”
-Choice(Nov. 2001)

,

At the Bottom of the Garden is brilliant, always on the move, and bone-chilling. There's nothing cutesy about this highly suggestive, provocative scholarship; the creatures animating this book are about as cuddly as scorpions, wee rattlers, and black-widow spiders. Purkiss has written a witty and compelling work that will fascinate readers and haunt our imaginations.”
-James Kincaid,University of Southern California, author of Erotic Innocence

“. . . a scholarly overview of the role that fairies have played in culture from the past to the present.”
-Publishers Weekly

,

“Enchanting . . . witty . . . full of surprises and delights.”
-The Times

,

“Illuminating and enormous fun.”
-Spectator

Meet the Author

Author of The Witch in History, Diane Purkiss was formerly Professor of English at Exeter University and is now Fellow and Tutor at Keble College, Oxford.

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At the Bottom of the Garden: A Dark History of Fairies, Hobgoblins, Nymphs, and Other Troublesome Things 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was one of the best of it's kind that I have read. There was so much information and it was exciting to read.