Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness by Carole G. Silver

Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness

byCarole G. Silver

Paperback | September 26, 2000

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Teeming with creatures, both real and imagined, this encyclopedic study in cultural history illuminates the hidden web of connections between the Victorian fascination with fairies and their lore and the dominant preoccupations of Victorian culture at large. Carole Silver here draws on sourcesranging from the anthropological, folkloric, and occult to the legal, historical, and medical. She is the first to anatomize a world peopled by strange beings who have infiltrated both the literary and visual masterpieces and the minor works of the writers and painters of that era. Examining the period of 1798 to 1923, Strange and Secret Peoples focuses not only on such popular literary figures as Charles Dickens and William Butler Yeats, but on writers as diverse as Thomas Carlyle, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Charlotte Mew; on artists as varied as mad Richard Dadd, AubreyBeardsley, and Sir Joseph Noel Paton; and on artifacts ranging from fossil skulls to photographs and vases. Silver demonstrates how beautiful and monstrous creatures--fairies and swan maidens, goblins and dwarfs, cretins and changelings, elementals and pygmies--simultaneously peopled the Victorianimagination and inhabited nineteenth-century science and belief. Her book reveals the astonishing complexity and fertility of the Victorian consciousness: its modernity and antiquity, its desire to naturalize the supernatural, its pervasive eroticism fused with sexual anxiety, and its drive forracial and imperial dominion.

About The Author

Carole G. Silver is Professor of English and holds the Humanities Chair at Yeshiva University (Stern College). She is also Adjunct Professor of English at New York University. Among her publications are The Romance of William Morris and The Earthly Paradise: Arts and Crafts by William Morris.

Details & Specs

Title:Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian ConsciousnessFormat:PaperbackPublished:September 26, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195144112

ISBN - 13:9780195144116

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"Carol G. Silver does much to remedy the dearth of historical analysis in this rich field.... Silver's book is a significant contribution to this fascinating hallmark of the Victorian era."--Victorian Review [Canada]