We all know about fairies—they're usually helpful, ethereal creatures in children's stories and Walt Disney films, flitting about doing good, right? Wrong! In ancient times, the concept of fairies was rather different. They were the often-dangerous embodiment of the land, dark and unpredictable spirits that watched Humanity with a jaundiced and hostile eye. And, according to conventional folk wisdom, they were to be feared rather than trusted. Indeed, in their original form, many of our "fairy tales" read more like late-night horror stories. Dr. Bob Curran investigates the folkloric roots of the fairy kind, tracing their origins from the sprites and maenads of Classical times to the sanitized versions of the English Victorians. Among other aspects, he examines the connections in the Christian mind between the fairy kind and demons; the links between fairies and ancient, pagan gods; and the often-strained relations between fairies and humans across the ages. This is not a book for those who believe that fairies are friendly, kindly creatures. With the growing and anticipated interest in fairies—particularly given the forthcoming Disney film Wings, starring Miley Cyrus—Dark Fairies is a timely and valuable new title.
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