Examining the older, darker, more scary and more serious world of traditional British and Irish peoples who lived alongside fairies, elves, gnomes, brownies and pixies and had to deal with them.
This evening Ronald Hutton takes us to fairyland: not that of Victorian and Edwardian children’s stories, or even that of Shakespeare, but the older, darker, more scary and more serious world of traditional British and Irish peoples who lived alongside fairies, elves, gnomes, brownies and pixies and had to deal with them. His mission is to discover what these peoples believed about these beings and the coping strategies that they adopted towards them: and how these differed from the beliefs and relations found in later literary fairy tales. He also considers the question of the value of telling stories about the traditional fairies and the meanings that these had for the people who told them. Almost everybody knows that traditional fairies were seldom cute, but how dangerous were they? Who were the sorts of people who made relations with them and why? What could those relations feel like? These are more of the issues which will be discussed tonight.
Speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is a leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs.