Here’s a list of my own publications on fairy lore, if you’d like further detailed sources for much of the discussion on this blog:
British Fairies, Green Magic Publishing, 2017: this is a themed study of fairies, examining issues such as clothing, homes, commerce, changelings and curses.
Victorian Fairy Verse- An Annotated Anthology, Amazon/KDP, 2019: the Victorian era saw a peak of popular interest in fairies- in art, literature, popular entertainments and in children’s books. Whilst there are several studies that examine Victorian fairy painting, that have been none that are devoted to the fairy poetry of the era. This book showcases the richness and complexity of this genre of nineteenth century verse.The book contains an introduction to the subject, followed by a brief survey of fairy poetry from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries- writers such as Drayton, Herrick and Blake. The fairy verse of the nineteenth century is then surveyed in themed chapters, which examine good and bad fairies, mermaids, Irish fairy verse, North American poetry and the twentieth century legacy of these writings. Each chapter includes a brief introduction, biographies of the poets and notes and discussion on each of the poems.Over eighty poets are included, from well-known names such as Ruskin, Tennyson and Rossetti to a host of much less well-known fairy writers.
Fayerie- Fairies and Fairyland in Tudor and Stuart Verse: Amazon/KDP, 2020. This volume complements Victorian Fairy Verse. As well as a selection of Tudor and Stuart verse, supported by notes, the text considers the background to ideas found in this poetry through an examination of medieval fairy belief. This is followed with a detailed study of how fairies and fairyland are presented in the poetry and plays of the period. As wide a range of authors have been drawn upon to give a thorough picture of Faery in the literature of the period.
Fairy Ballads & Rhymes: Amazon/KDP, 2020– Britain is rich in its heritage of traditional ballads, most of which date from the seventeenth century or earlier. Around twenty of these ballads take fairies and fairyland as their theme. Accordingly, these songs are valuable sources of information on late medieval and early modern fairy beliefs. This book provides an overview of fairy lore in the ballads, accompanied by edited texts for all the key lyrics, supplemented by notes. In addition, British traditional rhymes dealing with fairy-lore are collected together, along with a selection of verses and songs ascribed to the fairies themselves. These texts are often overlooked as a body of literature in their own right, but this book takes the opportunity to focus upon them and what they can tell us about human and faery society. Fairy Ballads is available as an e-book (£7.00) or as a paperback (£9.95).
Faery: A Guide to the Lore, Magic and World of the Good Folk, Llewellyn Worldwide, April 2020: this comprehensive book is both a folkloric resource and guide to residing near our magical neighbours. Faery dives deep into the rich cultural traditions of the British Isles and provides practical advice based on local legends and real encounters, revealing the symbiotic relationship between humans and fairies and inviting you to explore the magic, habits, and culture of the Good Folk. You’ll discover how to find fairies, how they act with them and what precautions you should take when working with them.
Nymphs, naiads, dryads and nereids have had an important place in Western culture since Ancient Greek times. They have given us myths, names and concepts that have shaped literature, art and folklore for nearly 3000 years. As well as contributing the stories of Hylas, Echo, Psyche, Kalypso and others, the Greek nymphs have influenced the way the peoples of Northern Europe understood their own native fairies, elves and mermaids. In recent times, of course, the nymph has been re-interpreted for modern society in the form of the adolescent nymphet.
In ‘Nymphology‘ John Kruse provides readers with a comprehensive overview of the role of the nymph in our story-telling, painting, sculpture and everyday thought. The book’s chapters cover the nymphs’ Greek and Roman origins, how they were re-shaped as the fae women of medieval romance, rediscovered as part of the Renaissance and reinvented as ‘elemental beings,’ as the undines and sylphs of Paracelsus.
The nymphs are followed into the present day through painting, poetry and philosophy, to come right up to date with the nymphets of the world wide web. On the way we consider Vladimir Nabokov, Symbolist and Pre-Raphaelite painters, Decadent poets and modern faery writers.
Several books have examined Victorian fairy painting; none so far have concentrated on the range of fairy art produced in the twentieth century. From books to postcards to paintings to ceramics and toys, the period was one which saw the scope and volume of fairy inspired design expand enormously. As a result, flower fairies and Boo-Boos became part of our visual culture.
‘Fairy Art of the Twentieth Century‘ is divided into several sections. First, it examines the growth of artworks produced specifically for children and the place of fairy designs within this genre. It then considers the many different media for which fairy imagery was created and the companies and markets involved. The book then goes on to identify three broad periods in twentieth century fairy art and to discuss the artists associated with these.
In the first decades of the twentieth century, the influence of Victorian painters was still strong. The work and careers of artists such as Warwick Goble, Edmund Dulac, John Duncan and Estella Canziani are considered. After the First World War, changes in the market and in public taste led to a new focus on fairy art for children. Dozens of artists produced fairy designs and their output and influences are discussed in detail. The book covers major figures such as Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, Cicely Mary Barker, Margaret Tarrant and Mabel Lucie Attwell along with many other painters and graphic artists. These include Rene Cloke, Lorna Steele, Molly Brett, Peg Maltby, Jessie King, Hilda Miller and many, many others.
Most Victorian fairy painters worked for an adult audience and this interest in Faery never went away. The designs of Arthur Rackham are one example of this theme in the early twentieth century. However, from the 1970s onwards, representations of an adult fairyland re-emerged. Artists such as Brian Froud, Peter Blake, Alan Lee and. more recently Matt Collishaw, have all created work examining the sexuality and darker aspects of the fairy world.
As well as considering the artists themselves, and the works they illustrated or designed, this book also looks at how twentieth century fairy art affected our idea of what a fairy looks like and how they behave. Today, when we imagine Faery, we tend automatically to think of pretty fairy girls and ugly goblin men, of clothes made from flowers and of fairies dancing and playing in the moonlight. We owe this to the twentieth century fairy artists who are discussed in this book.
The book is available as an e-book or as a paperback (183 pages) priced at £7.50 or £11.50 respectively.
Beyond Faery- exploring the world of mermaids, kelpies, goblins and other faery beasts. This is an in-depth and detailed study of all the complex and often perilous creatures that inhabit the world of Faery. Available from Llewellyn Worldwide and all good book sellers.
Famous Fairies: The Foremost Folk in Faeryland is a series of ‘biographies’ of the best known British fairies: Titania and Oberon, Mab, Ariel, Puck, King Arthur and Nimue, Tinker Bell and the British equivalents of Rumpelstiltskin. For each character, their origin is examined and their history traced through art as well as literature and folklore.
My latest title with Green Magic Publishing is an exploration of the myth and meaning of Pan, tracing his cult’s development since ancient times but concentrating on the revival of interest in the deity that took place from Victorian and Edwardian times onwards, when Pan became a god not just of fertility but of gay liberation and, later, of environmental protection.
Love and Sex in Faeryland (March, 2021) is an examination of the long- and often fraught- history of relationships between humans and supernaturals, both faeries and mermaids. These affairs may be brief, or they may be brief sexual encounters or they may be longer term marriages; either way, they are frequently involve peril and distress as well as joy and love. The book is available as a paperback and e-book through Amazon.
British Pixies, published on April 30th 2021 by Green Magic, is a small but detailed study of a specific faery ‘race’ in Britain. Pixies (or piskies in the local dialects) are mostly concentrated in the three southwestern counties of England, and they seem to be shaped by the rugged moorland and coastal scenery of the region. They are mischievous, stealing horses to ride at night and leading people astray on the moors, but they can also be helpful to humans, especially in the form of the knockers, the mine pixies who guide favoured miners to the best lodes. They have a unique and fascinating character.
This small book is a detailed examination of changelings- their nature, how to identify and expel them and the reasons for their substitution for human children. Middle Earth Cuckoos is available as an e-book and paperback from Amazon.
Published on June 1th 2921 by Green Magic Publishing, How Things Work in Faery aims to be a complete description of the faery economy- a thorough examination of every aspect of how their society works, from government and war through agriculture, industry and fishing to their use of money and (inevitably) the way they use us humans and our property.
This book, published by Green Magic, is founded squarely upon an acceptance that faeries have a tangible physical reality and that we can describe them medically and biologically, in just the same manner as may be done for any other living being. It is, therefore, to some degree a natural history of faery kind, but it is limited to an examination of their bodies. Every stage of the faery lifecycle, form birth through to eventual death, is examined in as great detail as the folklore evidence permits. In fact, there is often more available on this subject than we might initially expect.
The Isle of Man is full of faery beings. In a concentrated area, it has all the most fascinating supernatural creatures of the British Isles, not just fairies, but various goblins, faery beasts and mermaids. It provides a fascinating case study of the wider wonders of British faery-lore, a kind of microcosm of Britain’s faeries. As well the little folk themselves, there are the bugganes, fynoderee, glashtins and water bulls (tarroo ushtey) to consider. Manx faery life is rich and instructive.
There is a distinct tendency today to assume that faery kind are friendly and helpful towards us humans. The evidence of over one thousand years experience, preserved in British folk tradition, tells a very different story. British faeries are (like humans) selfish, greedy, violent and cruel. What makes things worse, of course, is the fact that they have magical powers too. This book deliberately focuses upon only the darker side of faery: how their magic can be used to trick and steal from us; how they will attack and abduct us; how we can offend them and how they can make us ill. A paperback and e-book from Green Magic.
Forthcoming titles include:
- Faeries & The Natural World, and
- Aphrodite- Goddess of Modern Love..
As well as these folklore and literary guides, I’ve also written some fairy fiction, the titles of which include: