We all know about fairies--they're usually helpful, ethereal creatures in children's stories and Walt Disney films, flitting about doing good, right?
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.
Dr. Bob Curran is a native of Northern Ireland, born and raised in the Mourne Mountains area of County Down, a region steeped in folklore and legend. Throughout a varied life, he has worked in many fields--as a gravedigger, professional musician, journalist, and civil servant. He is now a history teacher and well known throughout Ireland and beyond as a writer and broadcaster. He has written extensively, in English and several other languages, on various aspects of history and folklore and acted as advisor to the Cultural Committee of the Northern Ireland Legislative Assembly. He currently lives in Coleraine, County Derry, with his wife and family.