"...the faery and ghost kingdom is more stubborn than men dream of. It will perhaps be always going and never gone."
W.B. Yeats, The Celtic Twilight
"An interesting and unusual book: the first extensive study of belief in fairies in Canada. . . .
This is an important book for anyone doing research into popular beliefs and superstitions."--Edith
Fowke, Books in Canada.
". . . a treasure . . . thorough in its handling of archive material . . . learning and imagination
combined!"--Dr. George Story
"The fairies" of Newfoundland oral tradition are variously envisioned, encountered, and
interpreted, and this study presents some of these concepts and experiences. Field research
provides the ethnographic emphasis on individual narrators and situations, as well as the
first major verbatim collections of texts.
Strange Terrain--winner of the 1992-93 Raymond-Klibansky book prize awarded by the
Canadian Federation for the Humanities.
Barbara Rieti has an M.A. in Folklore from the University of California at Berkley and a Ph.D. in folklore from Memorial University of Newfoundland.
"The fairies are the ultimate strangers, and serve as metaphor for all this is strange, not only in nature but in other people."
"In th'olde dayes... Al was this land fulfild of fayerye."
Chaucer's wife of Bath
STRANGE TERRAIN ... Author Barbara Rieti's study began in 1983 whn she met a young man who told her that he had been followed by the fairies. Subsequent research drew on the hundreds of accounts of fairies that are housed in the Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive, and on Dr. Rieti's own fieldwork on the Avalon Peninsula.
Fairies might be good or bad, and encounters with them funny or fatal. They can take on the form of people or animals, or they may have no form of people or animals, or they may have no form at all, as when a person walking in the woods is "led astray" by some irresistible force. This variability is matched by the diversity of human attitudes. Out of this dynamic of form and belief are derived many uses for the fairies.
Dr. Rieti describes the specific contexts in which fairy experiences are recounted and the manner in which they are told, keeping the narrators at center stage. She also seeks the meaning in cultural themes such as the human relationship with nature, and relationships between people. Comparative material sets the subject in historical and international perspective and demonstrates the remarkable tenacity of these very old yet modern tales.
The fairies may be going, but they are not gone yet. The stories still to be heard offer a window on everyday folklife, as well as on an extraordinary world.
OTHER ISER TITLES OF INTEREST:
SAYING ISN'T BELIEVING:
Conversation, Narrative and the Discourse of Belief in a French Newfoundland Community
Gary R. Butler
LIVING IN A MATERIAL WORLD:
Canadian and American Approaches to Material Culture
edited by Gerald L. Pocius
The Ethos and Luck of Deep-Sea Fishermen