The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies (Paperback)
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These Subterraneans have Controverfies, Doubts, Difputes, Feuds, and Siding of Parties... As to Vice and Sin, whatever their own Laws be... they tranfgrefs and commit Acts of Injuftice... -from Chapter 11 As a study of 17th-century folklore, this mysterious and remarkable text is fascinating. As a document of the popular mindset of a time in which the odd or the outcast were still condemned and punished as witches, it is wholly astonishing. Robert Kirk's "A Study in Folk-Lore and Psychical Research" dates from 1691, and is perhaps a hallucinatory and delusional labor of love by a minister obsessed with psychic phenomena. Here, Kirk's treatise is accompanied by commentary written in 1893 by folklorist Andrew Lang that both celebrates Kirk's passion and wonders at his "savage metaphysics." By turns bizarre and enlightening, this little book continues to bewitch today's readers. Scottish minister ROBERT KIRK (c. 1640-1692) studied theology at St. Andrew's and Edinburgh Universities but was fascinated by the occult. The fact of his death is rumored to be "disputed." Scottish journalist and author ANDREW LANG (1844-1912) produced a stunning variety and number of volumes, including books of poetry, novels, children's books, histories, and biographies, as well as criticism, essays, scholarly works of anthropology, and translations of classical literature.