The Fairy Mythology: Illustrative of the Romance and Superstition of Various Countriesby Thomas Keightley
In the first, after briefly stating what had given occasion to it, I gave the germs of the
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A preface is to a book what a prologue is to a play--a usual, often agreeable, but by no means necessary precursor. It may therefore be altered or omitted at pleasure. I have at times exercised this right, and this is the third I have written for the present work.
In the first, after briefly stating what had given occasion to it, I gave the germs of the theory which I afterwards developed in the Tales and Popular Fictions. The second contained the following paragraph:--
"I never heard of any one who read it that was not pleased with it. It was translated into German as soon as it appeared, and was very favourably received. Goethe thought well of it. Dr. Jacob Grimm--perhaps the first authority on these matters in Europe--wrote me a letter commending it, and assuring me that even to him it offered something new; and I was one Christmas most agreeably surprised by the receipt of a letter from Vienna, from the celebrated orientalist, Jos Von Hammer, informing me that it had been the companion of a journey he had lately made to his native province of Styria, and had afforded much pleasure and information to himself and to some ladies of high rank and cultivated minds in that country. The initials at the end of the preface, he said, led him to suppose it was a work of mine. So far for the Continent. In this country, when I mention the name of Robert Southey as that of one who has more than once expressed his decided approbation of this performance, I am sure I shall have said quite enough to satisfy any one that the work is not devoid of merit."
I could now add many names of distinguished persons who have been pleased with this work and its pendent, the Tales and Popular Fictions. I shall only mention that of the late Mr. Douce, who, very shortly before his death, on the occasion of the publication of this last work, called on me to assure me that "it was many, many years indeed, since he had read a book which had yielded him so much delight."
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