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An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, & Other Supernatural Creatures Paperback – August 12, 1978
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-- New York Times Book Review
"Oberon would have revelled in this convocation of his subjects."
-- Peter Opie
"An Encyclopedia offers a supernatural host of legends, ballads, folk tales -- and more than enough hobgoblins and dragons to fill minds little or large. The entries are informative and scholarly without being stuffy. A good thing, too. Fairies like to play tricks on the serious." -- Time Magazine
"What Briggs has done is to recover fairies from the nursery (and to a degree from formal literature and painting as well) and restore to them their diversity, complexity, and astonishingly subtle relationship with mortal men and women.... These stories are designed to awaken consciousness." -- Peter S. Prescott
"An Encyclopedia of Fairies is a work that is at once beguiling and trustworthy .... A valuable reference book and a most readable one." -- Richard M. Dorson
"Dr. Briggs brings to her subject both a formidable background in folk scholarship and a lively pen. This absorbing, sensitive, and well-written book will be a valuable single-volume reference work in the study of folklore, mythology, and literature. Even for the general reader-browser, it is a treasure as sprightly and appealing as the fairies themselves." -- Southern Folklore Quarterly
"Katharine Briggs is the magic mirror on the wall. Ask her what you will, but have a care of this wonderful book. Dip into it for two minutes and you'll be gone for an hour. No hour could be better spent." -- Richard Adams
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Top Customer Reviews
Briggs' scholarship is amazing, her research is exhaustive. Even the most fanatical of folklore enthusiasts would be hard pressed to find a character from British folklore missing from this work. (Briggs wrote in her preface that she originally planned to compile an encyclopedia of global folklore, "but to treat the fairies of the whole of Europe alone, even cursorily, would have been to produce a book ten times the size of this and founded on years of further research."
Certainly, Briggs treated British folklore with a thoroughness rarely seen in a milieu regarded by some as a children's fancy.
Of course, she was British, and she was 78 years old in 1977 when the book came out, so she was closer in both place and time to the original information. We who are fascinated with the Realm owe this good woman and most competant folklorist a great debt of gratitude for what she brought forth for us to have in this book.
When I informed my mother that I was using it as a major source for my English paper, she was skeptical--until she looked at the information at the front of the book. It's not a frivolous work. That is sometimes a problem--many quotations are in the original dialect or idiom, which can obscure the meaning.
This book is both interesting and useful.
That's why you should jump on this right now. It's the absolute best. I also bought all the other Katharine Briggs' works I could find on Amazon (Folktales of England, The Vanishing People, etc.), and those are great, but they really tell the tale itself, like a story (which is fun to read, and you should buy those, too). This gives you another angle: here, she recounts the lore, but she also includes entries about prominent figures in the study of folklore, as well as essays on things like "Captives in Fairyland" and "Time in Fairyland." Basically, she allows you to understand folklore as an organic entity, really, giving you all the background information to have it really develop into a world.
It's just the best. I can't even explain it. Gah, I'm literally bouncing up and down with how excited I am to have this.
Seriously, Katharine Briggs is the be all and end all of folklore, and this is like her magnum opus...you need this. You just do.
A good guide to Fairies, and to the fact that traditional Fairies are not cute winged girls. They are dangerous and capricious and interesting and alien, and even the good ones are scary. If you like stories, then the lesson is worth learning.
This is the only reference book I've ever read, cover to cover.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've loved this book since the first day I saw it. It's deeply engrossing, and is great inspiration for my art!
I just wish it was still in print. Read more
Katharine Briggs (1898–1980) wrote several authoritative works on fairies and their kith and kin. Her books offer a nice combination of expertise and accessibility to general... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Kathy Burford
A wonderful reference. With a brave title. After reading it, it becomes clear that a safer name would have been An Encyclopedia of Good Folk. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Kindle Customer
A good academic-style reference on the Fae. The contents range from different creatures such as Pixies or Selkies, items of significance in fairy lore (four-leaf clovers allowing a... Read morePublished 8 months ago by coi00koo0ee
The only thing I wish about this book is that someone would digitize it to make it easier to take with me everywhere. If you only get one book on Faerie, this is the one to get.Published 10 months ago by Anastasia Storer
Very thorough. My only complaint is that I wish there was an index that I could look up creatures by type. (ex. dogs, sea creatures) or country of origin. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Omega
Hard to find hardcover book delivered as promised in good time.Very pleased.Published 16 months ago by Jzika Hoagland
The information is wonderful. I'm old (lol) and even I did not know some of the sourcing history behind a lot of Fae characters. Read morePublished on October 18, 2013 by Amazon Customer