Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves & Other Little People Hardcover – September 5, 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Hardcover, September 5, 2000
$24.95 $1.28
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
$20.94

The Amazon Book Review
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

A fascinating compendium of folklore, superstitions, and mythology surrounding the 'little people', including discussions of fairy tradition as it appears in great works of English literature.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Gramercy; 1st edition (September 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0517263130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0517263136
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #392,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book was originally published in 1880 and is an excellent history of the shaping of Faerie. It starts with the origin of the term and then documents the development of the ideas and tales of Fairies in many cultures. This book is full of summaries of stories, portions of text in their original language (some of which also appear translated), footnotes to naming conventions, pronunciations, criticisms, etc. I agree with the other reviewer that this book is not for everyone and in many cases is a tough read, but it is well worth it. In short, this would be a great textbook for a class on the history of Faerie.
Comment 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By A Customer on January 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book explores fairies and other fantastic characters in different folklore like german and english, but also in different times, from Persia to Middle-Age.
It has few black and white illustrations, but the point of this book is not to be pictorical but informative.
It's like taking a tour through different times and cultures viewing the roles fantasy characters have been playing in folklore.
Comment 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
It's a credit to Thomas Keightley's "World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves & Other Little People" that it's still a relevant mythologic source today, over a hundred years after it was first published. The stories, explanations and legends are still as informative as they were in 1880, although they are rather restricted.

Okay, "World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves and Other Little People" sounds like a cutesy title for a Brian Froud-illustrated book. And it's a rather lightweight title for a book with genuine merit -- especially the "little people" part of it, since the elves, fey and gnomes in here are anything but dainty Victorian fairies.

Instead, Keightley focuses on traditional goblins, dwarves and elves -- Scandinavian trolls and beautiful alfar, Germanic Zwerge and kobolds, British fairies, Celtic spirits and seal-men, and the epic sagas that greatly influenced early fantasy authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and George MacDonald. Take a look at the chapter on the "Eddas and Sagas," and it's hard not to think of Middle Earth.

Its one flaw is that it's restricted mostly to Europe -- there's a brief chapter on African superstitions, and one for Judaistic ones. Other than that, nothing that originates outside Europe. While it's understandable, considering the time that Keightley lived in, it's hard not to wonder if he couldn't have found out at least a few other cultural legends.

However, this is a rich source for European myths and legends, especially since Keightley obviously did his research. He includes snippets of untranslated poetry, ballads, and footnotes detailing migratory myths and differing versions. He also summarizes some of the denser material like the two Eddas, which are extremely long and sometimes difficult.
Read more ›
Comment 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
I am so thrilled to see that this book is still in print. When I was a child, I used to read and re-read an originally published copy (still called The Fairy Mythology then) in her dusty, musty library. I've searched and searched for the book, not even able to recall the title until the other day, when I typed in the original title and came up with the re-print. What a wonderful treat to know that I will be able to own a copy again. It completely cast a mysterious, magical spell over my adolescence. You will love this book.
Comment 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
Note that I have the 1978 reprint, so the typesetting issues are not present in that edition.

This work was to be the authoritative study of its day on the topic of fairy folk lore. It succeeds in this role brilliantly, although much of the author's analysis is dated and/or overly simplistic. The author was a contemporary of Jacob Grimm and was clearly inspired by the various works by the Grimm brothers on cultural lore.

This work provides a general analytical overview of the lore side-by-side with the folk tales. Most of the book is taken up by source material so even if the analysis sometimes wanders. About a third of the analysis is such that I don't think that we have better conclusions today, while about a third of it is clearly obsolete. Since such analysis is the minority of the book, this is no big issue.

One point that may drive some readers crazy though is the way in which his spellings by dialect and era are far removed from the present Servian instead of Serbian, Majjar instead of Magyar, etc may drive some readers crazy. However, the bulk of the work is sufficiently interesting that I woud give this work a 5-star rating regardless of these criticisms.
Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover
This wide-ranging and attractive work (first published in 1880 under another title) discusses fairy beings primarily in Western European cultures, with a nod to other areas. It includes Spenser’s FAERIE QUEENE as well as Eddas and Sagas and folktales. The sections begin with a general synopsis of the creatures in question (for example, trolls) followed by short exemplary tales. Although the book is heavily annotated, some of these nineteenth-century views are no doubt dated and no longer relevant. The charming stories and ballads are the central attraction.
Comment 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Keightly has done two things for us. He has assembled all these wonderful tales in a manner that is brief and concise yet manages to present the spirit of it. Secondly, In an age where people find angels a reasonable belief and little bug eyed men from thousands of light years away all coming to visit us and yet do not believe in the varied creatures of that invisible world that haunted our ancestors, he presents us with our Inheritance. The world of Gnomes and Trolls and magical creatures is part of our Heritage as much as any wars fought and lands conquered. It doesn't matter if you 'believe" in them or not. What adult believes in Santa but still celebrates him with his children every winter? And yet, Santa is more fictional than these tales because our ancestors truly believed in them. This book is my reference book in my story telling.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews


Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: irish folklore