From the Publisher
"Our favorite work of 1996 is ABC-CLIO's Spirits, Fairies, Gnomes, and Goblins…which offers fascinating explanations of some of the world's most mysterious creatures and spirits." - Library Journal
"Certain to become a standard in the field, this top-notch work is the most comprehensive single-volume reference to nondivine supernaturals available. Essential for scholars and students and of interest to all readers." - Library Journal
"The variety of cultures represented is breathtaking. Rose's encyclopedia will enrich reference collections in several thousand little ways." - Rettig on Reference (Gale.com)
"…a comprehensive work on the supernatural creatures that seem to crop up in every culture to explain mysterious events. Recommended." - The Book Report
A ubiquitous topic of speculation and study, spirits are found in countless traditional tales. British scholar Rose uses the following criteria for inclusion here: a spirit must exert active, willful, and supernatural influence on humans or domestic creatures; it cannot be divine (i.e., a saint or of other heavenly origin); and it is neither a hero nor a ghost involved in the actual human condition. Universal in scope and designed for quick reference, the more than 2500 entries-collected from learned journals, monographs, and rare and out-of-print sources-identify spirits spanning all times and places. The entry head represents a spirit's most common name; spirit names from other cultures and languages, including ancient ones, are transcribed into a modern English equivalent. Rose provides physical description and identifies the religions, countries, and regions with which a spirit is associated. Comparable works include Katherine Briggs's An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies and Other Supernatural Creatures (1976), which is a notable study but confined to the traditions of Great Britain, and Mythical and Fabulous Creatures: A Sourcebook and Resource Guide (Greenwood, 1987), an important recent work introducing essays on creatures largely known to Western civilization only. Certain to become a standard in the field, this top-notch work is the most comprehensive single-volume reference to nondivine supernaturals available. Essential for scholars and students and of interest to all readers.-Richard K. Burns, Hatboro, Pa.
School Library Journal
Gr 8 UpA comprehensive one-volume encyclopedia devoted to the group of supernatural beings who live unseen among humans and who "are not powerful like supreme deities." As described in a clearly written, succinct introduction, the subjects are the "Little People," spirits with restricted powers who "are `little' in the sense of limitation rather than size." They include fairies, angels, dwarfs, encantados (from Afro-Brazilian cults), djinns (from Islamic cultures), trolls, tricksters, and many more otherworldly creatures who "tend to interfere with the lives of humans." Each entry provides a brief description of the being and identifies its place of origin as well as its most common features. Footnotes refer to a numbered bibliography that includes over 100 titles, some well known and some obscure and long out of print. Black-and-white illustrations, taken from a variety of sources, are sprinkled throughout. Appendixes list spirits by type, place of origin, and things with which they are most often associated, such as diseases, travelers, weather, etc. While large collections will undoubtedly welcome this scholarly addition, libraries serving young readers will find the Larousse Dictionary of World Folklore (1995) a more useful tool.Alicia Eames, Brooklyn Public Library
Over 2,000 entries identify and describe the lesser spirits, mostly
of European tradition, but also from cultures throughout the world.
About 100 line drawings are included. Well cross- referenced. The
bibliography combines easily available collections and studies with
old and rare volumes. An appendix lists not only the spirits
described, but additional ones by such associations as guardianship
and protection, prophecy and fate, roads and travellers, and weather.
It also includes a list by country, religion, or people. No index.
Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.