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The Secret Lives Of Elves & Faeries: From the Private Journal Of The Rev. Robert Kirk Hardcover – May 10, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 127 pages
  • Publisher: Thorsons Pub; First Edition edition (May 10, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007200714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007200719
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,688,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Steven W. Johnson on September 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book is a catastrophe in my opinion. It seems the author, John Matthews, who is an excellent scholar in Celtic matters, has decided to paraphrase a bit of what Robert Kirk wrote in his original secret commonwealth of elves, leprochauns, and fairies, while adding a bunch of stuff which he avers he received ""from the Sidhe themselves" in some sort of channeling? Trance? He doesn't really say.

Frankly, being a fan of the original work by Robert Kirk, which he maligns in his pseudo-paraphrased-fictionalized work, John Matthews has besmirched a work of incalculable value. After suggesting in a fictional part of the book that Robert Kirk's manuscript has been largely corrupted by later scholars, he goes on to write of Robert Kirk's experiences which bear very little resemblance to the original account. I wish I had never bought it.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ABibliophile on April 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was fun to read, entertaining, and even enlightening. My only complaint is that John Matthews leads readers to believe that this book is Robert Kirk's actual journal. The title page reads, "Being the Newly Discovered Story of the Rev. ROBERT KIRK ...as told for his son, Colin, before he vanished from the sight of men ..." and the entire introduction is a story of how John Matthews discovered the 17th century manuscript. Based on Matthews high reputation, many readers have been duped into believing that this is the printed version of a real manuscript, when in fact Matthews admitted in an April 4, 2006 Amazon review of his book The Sidhe: Wisdom from the Celtic Otherworld that "'The Secret Lives of Elves and Faeries' is actually a fictionalised account of the Reverend Robert Kirk's adventures in Faery, based upon his own writings but actually penned by me." This should definitely be stated in the book itself, yet nowhere (except in his Amazon review) does Matthews admit that his book is fictionalized.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Wren on August 10, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was profoundly shocked to learn the true nature of this book. In 2006, in response to an Amazon review of another of his books, "The Sidhe," John Matthews stated that "The Secret Lives of Elves and Faeries" is a fictionalized account of Robert Kirk's "Secret Commonwealth," fleshed out with material from "The Sidhe." Yet fiction is not how "The Secret Lives" is portrayed, either on its back cover ("Here for the first time is Kirk's journal, in which he recorded his visits to the faery realms"), on the title page, in the Introduction, or in the Afterward. In each instance, Matthews writes as though he is indeed the discoverer of "very possibly the manuscript written by Robert Kirk himself" -- page 10. On page 11 he states categorically that "I have added subheadings to the text throughout to make it more readable. ...Other than this, the manuscript is word for word as Robert Kirk left it in 1692."

Were that the case, this book would be a folkloric treasure and not available from Amazon for under $20. That thought niggled at me the whole time I was reading it. But when I saw Matthews' response to the 2006 review -- well, my jaw dropped.

What on earth were Matthews and his publisher, HarperCollins, thinking? Presenting a work of fiction as someone else's authentic manuscript is fraudulent. Matthews is a respected Celtic scholar and his earlier works had been important to me. Now I can't trust anything he's written. What a shame.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By silver elves on October 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a rather charming book...
dear lovers of faerie lore,
... and we like Matthews' interpretation of Kirk's original journal. The cover and the illustrations were a plus, and while some might object to the fact that Matthews re-imagined Kirk's work, that did not bother these elves. Some have also complained that he used some of the material from his channeled book The Sidhe: Wisdom from the Celtic Otherworld, but that did not bother us, either. It is surely not a great or important addition to faery lore, yet it is, in many ways, a sweet one.
kyela,
the silver elves
authors of Through the Mists of Faerie: A Magical Guide to the Wisdom Teachings of the Ancient Elven and other books on magic and enchantment
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