Suggestions for Further Reading
I’ll begin with just three books and perhaps add more later on. This initial group reflects my preferences for the pioneering “fairy studies” of the 19th and early 20th centuries and also for great classic literature. All of these books are readily available as paperbacks or e-books.
The Fairy Mythology by Thomas Keightley
First published in 1828, this is one of the earliest scholarly works to study the folklore of fairies. It expands on Keightley’s earlier work on the Fairy Faith in Ireland in order to include the fairy folklore of many other nations. Although many excellent studies came after The Fairy Mythology, this was a ground-breaking work that still holds its own. I might add that Keightley wrote several other excellent works on closely related topics so it’s worth searching on his name on internet book sites.
The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries by W.Y. Evans-Wentz
Professor Evans-Wentz was one of the scholars who slogged his way along the remote byways of Celticdom at the end of the 19th century in order to interview the final generation of “old believers.” What he got was fairy folklore, personal opinions, and stories of encounters with fairies. By his own admission, this “testimony” opened his mind to the possibility that fairies might really exist and that some people can see them. Since he was one of the most respected comparative religion scholars of his time, that admission shouldn’t be lightly dismissed.
Le Mort d’Arthur by Thomas Mallory
This book – which is also known by its original title, Le Mort Darthur – was first published in 1485 and is today considered a classic of world literature. That’s because it remains the grandest and most romantic telling of the legend of Arthur. Most of the available editions are written in modern English but you might want to give the original Middle English a try since it’s easily deciphered and has a charm and a lilt that’s lost in translation. By the way, the title of the book – The Death of Arthur – is misleading since it deals with Arthur’s entire life. The choice of the title was the publisher’s, the celebrated William Caxton.