The Secret Commonwealth: Of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies by The New York Review of Books, Inc (Paperback, 2006)
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About this product
- DescriptionLate in the seventeenth century, Robert Kirk, an Episcopalian minister in the Scottish Highlands, set out to collect his parishioners' many striking stories about elves, fairies, fauns, doppelgangers, wraiths, and other beings of, in Kirk's words, a middle nature betwixt man and angel. For Kirk these stories constituted strong evidence for the reality of a supernatural world, existing parallel to ours, which, he passionately believed demanded exploration as much as the New World across the seas. Kirk defended these views in The Secret Commonwealth, an essay that was left in manuscript when he died in 1692. It is a rare and fascinating work, an extraordinary amalgam of science, religion, and folklore, suffused with the spirit of active curiosity and bemused wonder that fills Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy and the works of Sir Thomas Browne. The Secret Commonwealth is t only a remarkable document in the history of ideas but a study of enchantment that enchants in its own right. First published in 1815 by Sir Walter Scott, then re-edited in 1893 by Andrew Lang, with a dedication to Robert Louis Stevenson, The Secret Commonwealth has long been difficult to obtain-available, if at all, only in scholarly editions. This new edition modernizes the spelling and punctuation of Kirk's little book and features a wide-ranging and illuminating introduction by the critic and historian Marina Warner, who brings out the originality of Kirk's contribution and reflects on the ongoing life of fairies
- Author BiographyRobert Kirk (1644-1692) was the seventh son of James Kirk, Minister of Aberfoyle. He studied at Edinburgh and St. Andrews, became Minister of Balquhidder in 1644, and succeeded his father at Aberfoyle in 1685. Kirk published the first Gaelic translation of the Psalms and oversaw the preparation of the first romanized version of the Gaelic Bible. The Secret Commonwealth was left in manuscript at the time of his death. Marina Warner is a writer of fiction, criticism, and history. Her award-winning studies of mythology and fairy tales include Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary, From the Beast to the Blonde, and No Go the Bogeyman. In 2006 she published Phantasmagoria: Spirit Visions, Metaphors, and Media, a study of ghosts, phantasms, and technology. Her most recent work of fiction is the novel The Leto Bundle. A Fellow of the British Academy, she is also Professor of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex.
- PublisherThe New York Review of Books, Inc
- Date of Publication30/11/2006
- Place of PublicationNew York
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintNYRB Classics
- Weight217 g
- Width128 mm
- Height190 mm
- Spine130 mm
- Introduction byRobert Kirk,Marina Warner
- Edition StatementMain
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