The guid neighbours : fairy belief in early modern Scotland, 1500-1800

Henderson, Lizanne (1997) The guid neighbours : fairy belief in early modern Scotland, 1500-1800. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

This thesis investigates fairy belief in early modern Scotland (1500-1800), and aims to reach some conclusions as to what it meant to those who held this belief. Many people in the early modern period believed in fairies; this can be conjectured through the documentation available to us. They were a part of everyday life, as real to people as the sunrise, and as incontrovertible as the existence of God. While fairy belief was only a fragment of a much larger complex of beliefs, the implications of studying this belief tradition are potentially vast. Through the study of folk beliefs one can begin to understand the worldview of the people who lived in these centuries, and we are led one step closer to a comprehension of the past. -- The sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries witnessed an unprecedented assault on fairy belief, and folk culture generally. The religious impetus, both Protestant and Catholic, to remodel the world, subjected the fairies to a process of demonization. Belief in fairies is seen against a background of suppression and the attempted extirpation of folk culture. -- Through the use of a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, this thesis examines the nature of fairy belief, the major themes and motifs, the attack upon the tradition, and the attempted reinstatement of such beliefs. The stance that has been taken, for the purposes of this thesis, is that it does not matter whether or not fairies existed but that the people under study believed in their existence.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1500
Item ID: 1500
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 221-242.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: 1997
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Scotland
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Fairies--Scotland; Folklore--Scotland

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