A New Dictionary of Fairies is a comprehensive, well researched book on the mythology of a wide variety of the Celtic and Western European ‘fair folk’ and related folklore; the book title being based on folklorist Katherine Briggs’ 1976 work A Dictionary of Fairies, with author Morgan Daimler aiming to update that resource for the 21st Century.
As someone who tends to avoid contemporary ‘fairy stuff’ I was very pleasantly surprised by A New Dictionary of Fairies because as the author says in her introduction “As the subject of fairies has grown more popular … the amount of available information and misinformation has grown exponentially … Folklore is freely blended with modern fiction and divorced from both the root cultures and actual belief to create the twee fairies which populate many current media sources”.
Potential readers shouldn’t be put off either by the word ‘dictionary’ in the title as this book is much more than a list of words followed by brief explanations, containing detailed articles on many of the featured fair folk that make interesting reading in themselves.
Daimler’s intention was to provide a “comprehensive resource on Celtic fairies for the 21st Century” and in this I would say she has succeeded admirably. With extensive subject matter (the content pages alone being 5 pages) A New Dictionary of Fairies contains detailed sections on a diverse variety of folklore and fairy lore providing excellent summaries and wonderful starting points for deeper research (on which note there is also a detailed bibliography) – a recommended resource for anyone interested in the fair folk.
Book Details: Morgan Daimler. A New Dictionary of Fairies. Moon Books (2020). ISBN: 978-1789040364
Review Details: A New Dictionary of Fairies was reviewed by June Kent, editor of Indie Shaman magazine and this review was published in Issue 44.
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