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Fairy Folk Tales of Ireland Paperback – Mar 2 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (March 2 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684829525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684829524
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 531 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #303,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

William Butler Yeats is generally considered to be Ireland’s greatest poet, living or dead, and one of the most important literary figures of the twentieth century. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923.

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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
In this delightful volume, first published in 1892, William Butler Yeats has collected all manner of Irish folklore (mostly short stories, with a few poems) from a wide variety sources. He has divided the works into categories as follows: the "Trooping Fairies" (fairies, changelings, and the "merrow" or mermaids); the "Solitary Fairies" (the lepracaun, the pooka - an animal spirit, and the banshee); "Ghosts"; "Witches & Fairy Doctors"; "T'yeer-na-n-Oge" or "Tir-na-n-Og" (a legendary island said to appear and disappear); "Saints & Priests"; "The Devil"; "Giants"; and "Kings / Queens / Princesses / Earls / Robbers." Yeats introduces each section with background information on the creature the stories in that category will concern. He also includes numerous footnotes of interest, making this book a valuable resource for anyone seeking to learn about the tradition of Irish folklore.
While I have given this anthology a five-star rating based on it's value as a source of information on Irish mythology, it would probably be worth only four stars for entertainment value alone. Some of the stories are very short and/or don't have much of a point, and are less interesting. These tend to serve more as testimony to the nature of a particular mythical being rather than being an actual story with a plot and message for the reader. Nevertheless, the book as a whole offers a very comprehensive look at just what defines Irish folk culture. The stories that do have a point sometimes take the form of "how things came to be this way" tales, or provide a moral lesson, etc.
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Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this collection. I purchased it as one of a number of books for a friend. This edition has an attractive cover and a solid construction, important for a volume that will be kept and re-read many times.
Yeats is listed as editor of this volume but I feel that probably underplays his importance. The stories are not his invention, but it seems his writing throughout. The stories are well chosen to cover a large part of Irish myth and are well written. This volume and "Mythologies" show Yeats abiding love for the Celtic heritage that surrounded him.
I always enjoy Yeat's writing, from his poetry all the wy to his essays. This volume shows that he can have a masterful touch for myths.
The only shortcoming is that to the modern reader the language may sometimes appear slightly archaic or stilted, though this is rare and somehow seems to fit for a collection of legends.
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By A Customer on May 6 1999
Format: Hardcover
Well, I read a different edition, but I'm sure they contain essentially the same stories. The collection contains many traditional folk stories and several poems from Ireland. The stories are entertaining, and some contain folk wisdom in their morals. Many are told in dialect, with some Irish words left intact. The similarities between these tales and folk tales around the world is striking, though of course characters such as the banshee and leprachaun are distinctly Irish. There is a strong Christian influence in these stories, which makes an interesting blend with the older Druidic elements. I found them entertaining, and they definately are distinctly Irish. Anyone interested in traditional Irish culture, or fairy tales in general will enjoy these stories.
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By A Customer on July 17 2004
Format: Paperback
Everything you can think of, and all the things you can't think of are in this book. It runs the gamut of Folk/ Fairy tales from Ireland.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A fascinating look at the tradition of folklore in Ireland. July 9 2004
By Monika - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In this delightful volume, first published in 1892, William Butler Yeats has collected all manner of Irish folklore (mostly short stories, with a few poems) from a wide variety sources. He has divided the works into categories as follows: the "Trooping Fairies" (fairies, changelings, and the "merrow" or mermaids); the "Solitary Fairies" (the lepracaun, the pooka - an animal spirit, and the banshee); "Ghosts"; "Witches & Fairy Doctors"; "T'yeer-na-n-Oge" or "Tir-na-n-Og" (a legendary island said to appear and disappear); "Saints & Priests"; "The Devil"; "Giants"; and "Kings / Queens / Princesses / Earls / Robbers." Yeats introduces each section with background information on the creature the stories in that category will concern. He also includes numerous footnotes of interest, making this book a valuable resource for anyone seeking to learn about the tradition of Irish folklore.
While I have given this anthology a five-star rating based on it's value as a source of information on Irish mythology, it would probably be worth only four stars for entertainment value alone. Some of the stories are very short and/or don't have much of a point, and are less interesting. These tend to serve more as testimony to the nature of a particular mythical being rather than being an actual story with a plot and message for the reader. Nevertheless, the book as a whole offers a very comprehensive look at just what defines Irish folk culture. The stories that do have a point sometimes take the form of "how things came to be this way" tales, or provide a moral lesson, etc. Many of the stories are rather dark, as that tends to be the nature of lore from this region, but there are also some lighthearted and cheerful pieces.
Despite the book having been compiled more than one hundred years ago, most of the stories are quite easy to read. Yeats makes things even more simple for the reader by making footnotes where old Irish words or phrases are used, giving us their meaning. However, there are a few stories that have been left in a more archaic form, which is distracting and a bit harder to decipher. Take, for example, the following excerpt:
". . . the minit he puts his knife into the fish, there was a murtherin' screech, that you'd the life id lave you if you hurd it, and away jumps the throut out av the fryin'-pan into the middle o' the flure; and an the spot where it fell, up riz a lovely lady - the beautifullest crathur that eyes ever seen, dressed in white, and a band o' goold in her hair, and a sthrame o' blood runnin' down her arm."
One of the things I enjoy most about literature is finding connections with other works I've read, and "Irish Fairy & Folk Tales" does not disappoint in this regard. Many of the pieces are derivations of other, more common fairy tales. For instance, "Smallhead and the King's Sons" (Ghosts) incorporates some elements from both "Cinderella" and "Hansel and Gretel," while "The Giant's Stairs" (Giants) has some similarities to the story of "Jack and the Beanstalk." There are more connections like this. On the whole I found this book to be very enjoyable, and also a valuable read from a literary / academic standpoint. I'd certainly recommend it to anyone interesting in the history of Irish culture, the study of fairy tales and folklore, or both.
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Traditional Tales from Ireland May 6 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Well, I read a different edition, but I'm sure they contain essentially the same stories. The collection contains many traditional folk stories and several poems from Ireland. The stories are entertaining, and some contain folk wisdom in their morals. Many are told in dialect, with some Irish words left intact. The similarities between these tales and folk tales around the world is striking, though of course characters such as the banshee and leprachaun are distinctly Irish. There is a strong Christian influence in these stories, which makes an interesting blend with the older Druidic elements. I found them entertaining, and they definately are distinctly Irish. Anyone interested in traditional Irish culture, or fairy tales in general will enjoy these stories.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A literate touch to classic Irish tales Oct. 17 2001
By A Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this collection. I purchased it as one of a number of books for a friend. This edition has an attractive cover and a solid construction, important for a volume that will be kept and re-read many times.
Yeats is listed as editor of this volume but I feel that probably underplays his importance. The stories are not his invention, but it seems his writing throughout. The stories are well chosen to cover a large part of Irish myth and are well written. This volume and "Mythologies" show Yeats abiding love for the Celtic heritage that surrounded him.
I always enjoy Yeat's writing, from his poetry all the wy to his essays. This volume shows that he can have a masterful touch for myths.
The only shortcoming is that to the modern reader the language may sometimes appear slightly archaic or stilted, though this is rare and somehow seems to fit for a collection of legends.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
All of Granny's weird tales written down Sept. 16 2007
By Aili - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Yeats took ambitious pride in his Irish heritage, and his records of Irish fairy and folk tales demonstrate the value he placed in the traditional culture. This book, Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland, combines two separate folklore books written by Yeats: Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, and Irish Fairy Tales. They were collected in one volume and first published in 1889, in which Yeats says, "The two volumes make, I believe, a fairly representative collection of Irish folk tales" (p. 299 of 1983 ed.).

Fairly representative, indeed--not comprehensive. One only has to read Yeats's frequent references to contemporary researchers of Irish folklore, such as Lady Wilde (Oscar Wilde's mother) and Douglas Hyde, to see that there is much more out there. But Yeats's presentation and format, i.e. recording tales in varying dialects from sundry sources, makes it seem like you're reading the notes of a linguist or researcher who traveled the Irish countryside looking for data, Brothers Grimm style. Consequently, the original atmosphere of these stories is preserved remarkably well. It feels like you're listening to your eons old Irish grandmother rambling about a neighbor from two decades ago.

Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry takes up about ¾ of the book, and is divided into thematic sections with explanatory introductions. The introductions alone make this book work buying; they are clear, concise, and interesting. The stories themselves range widely in length, readability, and overall quality. Some delighted me, while others couldn't keep my attention. Sometimes the dialects were painful, but sometimes they provided just the right amount of flavor. My favorite sections were on the Merrows, Banshees, and Fairy Doctors, primarily because I learned the most on those topics.

Irish Fairy Tales is a fitting companion. It's much shorter but fills in a few of the gaps left by the previous collection. You'll find a little repetition and/or mirroring of certain events or storylines with slight changes here and there, but that's normal when collecting primary sources. The section on Land and Water Fairies particularly filled out my picture of "the good people."

Yeats also provides bibliographies that are perfect if you're looking for contemporary writings on fairies. If you're interested in Irish mythology and folklore, this book is a necessity. If you're just looking for something fun to read, some of the stories may be too dull or trying.
Five Stars July 9 2014
By Lisa Charles - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Book as described. Thanks!


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