The Secret Commonwealth: An Essay of the Nature and Actions of the Subterranean (and, for the Most Part) Invisible People, Heretofioir Going under the Name of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies

The Secret Commonwealth: An Essay of the Nature and Actions of the Subterranean (and, for the Most Part) Invisible People, Heretofioir Going under the Name of Elves, Fauns, and FairiesKirk Is A Magnificent Dish To Set Before Any Student Of Either Folk Lore Or Folk Psychology Times Literary SupplementIn The Late Th Century, A Scottish Minister Went Looking For Supernatural Creatures Of A Middle Nature Betwixt Man And Angel Robert Kirk Roamed The Highlands, Talking To His Parishioners And Other Country Folk About Their Encounters With Fairies, Wraiths, Elves, Doppelgangers, And Other Agents Of The Spirit World Magic Was A Part Of Everyday Life For Kirk And His Fellow Highlanders, And This Remarkable Book Offers Rare Glimpses Into Their Enchanted RealmLeft In Manuscript Form Upon The Author S Death In , This Volume Was First Published In At The Behest Of Sir Walter Scott In , The Distinguished Folklorist Andrew Lang Re Edited The Work Lang S Introduction To Kirk S Extraordinary Blend Of Science, Religion, And Superstition Is Included In This Edition For Many Years, The Secret Commonwealth Was Hard To Find Available, If At All, Only In Scholarly Editions Academicians As Well As Lovers Of Myths And Legends Will Prize This Authoritative But Inexpensive Edition

Robert Kirk 9 December 1644 14 May 1692 was a minister, Gaelic scholar and folklorist, best known for The Secret Commonwealth, a treatise on fairy folklore, witchcraft, ghosts and second sight of the Scottish Highlands.

➷ The Secret Commonwealth: An Essay of the Nature and Actions of the Subterranean (and, for the Most Part) Invisible People, Heretofioir Going under the Name of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies Free ➭ Author Robert  Kirk –
  • Paperback
  • 96 pages
  • The Secret Commonwealth: An Essay of the Nature and Actions of the Subterranean (and, for the Most Part) Invisible People, Heretofioir Going under the Name of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies
  • Robert Kirk
  • English
  • 01 August 2019
  • 9780486466118

10 thoughts on “The Secret Commonwealth: An Essay of the Nature and Actions of the Subterranean (and, for the Most Part) Invisible People, Heretofioir Going under the Name of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies

  1. says:

    In the middle ages a belief in fairies was common, friendly if slightly mischievous creatures these hidden people inhabited a mysterious realm, a comforting alternative perhaps to the harsh realities of everyday life But by the Reformation fairies started to accumulate a different set of meanings and their association with the then hastily discredited Catholic church with its saints and miracles did them no favours they were often represented as a somewhat sinister prospect akin to minions of the devil By the early 17th century, when King James I writing in his Demonologie included fairies in his category of devils conversing in the earth , it seemed that fairy folk were widely regarded as no better than countless other evil spirits Spirits thought to consort with the witches who were being ruthlessly hunted in the same period witches, usually women, were often indicted for maleficia or evil deeds which ranged from spoiling crops to making men impotent from the late 16th to as late as 1716, in Scotland alone, approximately 39 so called witches were prosecuted for specific maleficium linked to communication with the fay or fairy peoples, if convicted they faced harsh penalties from public flogging to possible death However, just as pagan images were often hidden away in the corners of medieval Christian churches, folk beliefs persisted alongside official ones, and a fascination with the little people was not entirely swept away by an association with evil promoted by external forces of authority Set against this historical backdrop, I thought Robert Kirk s 17th century Secret Commonwealth was fairly remarkable, a sort of social anthropology of elves, fauns and fairies produced by a Scottish minister of the Episcopalian church based in the Highlands Also striking was that Kirk s hidden people don t live in a conventional fairy kingdom ruled over by an all powerful monarch but in a commonwealth, which hinted at a radical subtext in Kirk s particular account For Kirk these were middle peoples beings of a middle nature betwixt man and angel, inhabiting some kind of parallel world which he set out to explore As Marina Warner points out, in her introduction, Kirk was a singular person he believed in fairy hills, changelings, and doppelgangers all of which he discusses in his book he was also conscious of his status as a seventh son who in folklore is destined to bear occult powers He did not hold with stringent diagnoses of heresy or with rooting it out, but treated popular custom and opinion and superstition as worthy of intellectual interest and genuine respect he outlines a vigorous, unofficial supernatural system, flourishing as widespread belief in his day Kirk links his study to the ancient customs of the Scottish Irish and a now subterranean people who, when humans were scarcer, lived above ground He presents a detailed depiction of every aspect of their existence their homes, bodily features, food, behaviours and even what they read It seems these subterranean dwellers can only be seen by those with second sight or seers, and interestingly, given the gendered nature of contemporaneous views of witchcraft, these seers are almost exclusively male except when it comes to things like women abducted to breastfeed fairy children Kirk outlines material taken from his interviews with such seers, and much of his discussion is centred on these special individuals I was surprised by how much of his overview was familiar, such as the use of cold iron to ward off fairy kidnappers but perhaps that s a testament to Kirk s influence on later fantasy and fairy tale his book was reedited posthumously by the famous Scottish anthropologist, and collector of folklore and fairy stories, Andrew Lang whose fairy books I adored as a child, and still do and Kirk s influence is still strong particularly in the fantasy genre a favourite of Philip Pullman s his next book The Secret Commonwealth takes its title from Kirk s.I thought this was a uneven blend of wonderful anecdote and slightly dry observations, the archaic style this edition uses modern spelling and punctuation is not that difficult to follow for the majority of Kirk s text, although there were some slightly challenging passages, mainly because of the differing conventions of sentence structure I found the opening sections far engrossing than the later ones dealing with the minutiae of seers abilities or the passages linking fairy lore to biblical concerns Overall I imagine this is strictly for hardcore fans of folklore and or fairy tale and fantasy and those who like me, might enjoy tracing the impact of Kirk s analysis on those genres In addition, I was quite taken with Kirk s glossary of terms which features some definitions that have marvellous comic possibilities Note Various versions of Kirk s text can be found online but this one includes an excellent introduction as well as some useful notes.

  2. says:

    If, like me, you read this expecting to learn something about the folklore of fairies, you will be disappointed The beginning of the book has some of that, and it is entertaining.The best reason to read this book is that it is strange and amusing It is written by a clergyman on fairies, the second sight, and charms he believes in all of the above His prose reads something like that of the scientists of his time, but he writes about what appears to us to be nonsense He is at pains to tell us that having use of the second sight is not witchcraft, nor is it diabolical he ends a passage in which he argus for this, Quod erat demonstrandum And there are passages like this I presume to say that this sight the second sight can be no quality of the air nor of the eyes Because i such as live in the same air and see all other things as far off and as clearly, yet have not the second sight ii a seer can give another person this sight transiently by putting his hand and foot in the posture he requires of him iii the unsullied eyes of infants can naturally perceive no new unaccustomed objects but what appear to other men, unless exalted and clarified some way, as Balaam s ass for a time Which shows the difference between our time and the 17th century pretty well, I think.

  3. says:

    Hardcore fantasy readers might find The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies by Robert Kirk and Andrew Lang to be interesting reading Lang, a nineteenth century folklorist, had printed and wrote a long introduction to a seventeenth century manuscript by Kirk.Both parts are worth reading if you like the topic The language is old, and by our standards the spelling is eccentric, but you will see where this little book has had an influence on contemporary fantasy Definitely read the footnotes and make free use of Google.

  4. says:

    Kirk, a parson, wrote this book basically defending the belief in fairies, charms, and second sight that his parishioners had He wanted to argue that you could be a good Christian and also believe in these kinds of other world elements that were so pervasive in his community He describes some of these beliefs and offers examples of specific instances and offers biblical references to back up his position although some were a bit of a stretch It s VERY interesting and is considered to be a must for students of folklore The version I read was edited from the original manuscript by Stewart Sanderson According to him, the version edited by Lang which is the famous and readily available one has some problems where Lang made some assumptions that maybe he shouldn t have made Do with that what you will.

  5. says:

    This was an interesting quick read It was a little challenging at times to wade through the old English that was used, and I found the introduction to be long winded, but it was fascinating to read a document that was written in 1692 Although it wasn t entirely what I was expecting, since I breezed through it in about 2 hours, it was well worth the time I m only giving it three stars because it wasn t what the description had led me to believe and the introduction got on my nerves.

  6. says:

    So very boring The subject matter the curious nature of Scottish faeries and the faery faith of those that fear them held tremendous potential, but this book fell far short of my expectations It was dull and difficult reading, thanks to the 17th century grammar and vocabulary, and scattered with irrelevant Biblical quotes If you want to learn about the faery faith, I would recommend Evan Wentz s The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries over this one any day of the week Tis a shame.

  7. says:

    This short, unusual book is intended to be a record of the existence of actual fae folk Tales of fae folk are part of common folklore in England and Scotland, and this book was put together by a Scottish Presbyterian minister I m always interested in folklore, and this book is an interesting read.

  8. says:

    every ufologist should read it the clear link between faeries of old and the greys of today same drink through the pores stuff etcthis book totally blows away exopolitics they came in 1947 at Roswell rubbish

  9. says:

    Completely fascinating, an amazing source for fairylore studies.

  10. says:

    An interesting work Obviously a predecessor of Charles Fort and John Keel.

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