How dangerous were fairies? In the late seventeenth century, they could still scare people to death. Little wonder, as they were thought to be descended from fallen angels, and to have the power to destroy the world itself. Such beliefs, along with some remarkably detailed sightings, lingered on well into the twentieth century.
In literature and art fairies often retained this edge of danger. From the wild magic of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, through the dark glamour of Keats, to the improbably erotic poem ‘Goblin Market’ or the paintings inspired by opium dreams, the amoral otherness of the fairies ran side-by-side with the newly delicate or feminized creations of the Victorian world. In the past thirty years the enduring link between fairies and nature has been robustly exploited by eco-warriors and conservationists, from Ireland to Iceland. This book, now available in paperback, tells the story of the many fairy terrors that lay behind Titania or Tinkerbell.
Fairies: A Dangerous History by Richard Sugg
Reaktion Books 2019. New paperback; 280 pages