Read Abbey Lubbers, Banshees, and Boggarts by Katharine Mary Briggs Free Online
Book Title: Abbey Lubbers, Banshees, and Boggarts|
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Reader ratings: 7.2
The author of the book: Katharine Mary Briggs
Date of issue: December 27th 2002
ISBN 13: 9780415291590
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 756 KB
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Katharine Briggs took her fairies seriously. She was a folklore scholar, with several Oxford degrees, and did not think fairy tales were strictly the province of children. The tales she liked were those handed down over generations by people who believed in them, as opposed to the ones “made up as a pretty fancy.”
This book is a popularized, illustrated version of Briggs’s AN ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FAIRIES, with more tales and fewer scholarly treatises. I guess it was intended for kids. Born in 1898, Briggs was 81 when it was published (she died a year later), and her foreword sometimes brushes against that patronizing tone writers used to adopt when addressing children. “I hope you will enjoy the book,” the introduction concludes, “and perhaps become a folklorist, collect stories for yourself, and tell them to other people.” (My second grade teacher talked like that.)
Once she moves into the body of the book, however, Briggs is all business and forgets she is supposed to be writing for the kiddies. Describing the horrible Peg Powler, who dragged children into the River Tees, she comments: “If Peg Powler was not invented by careful mothers you may be sure that they made her sound as terrifying as they could, for the Tees was a dangerous river.”
Briggs's youthful readers have to be sturdy of psyche. Her tale of the Each Uisge, the Scottish water horse, ends with the livers of seven little girls washing up on the shore.
Briggs wrote scads of books, among them THE PERSONNEL OF FAIRYLAND and the four-volume DICTIONARY OF BRITISH FOLKTALES IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. She’s supremely comfortable with her material. She doesn’t attempt linguistic fireworks—who needs to, when children’s livers are washing ashore?—but she writes with an endearing, understated wryness. She tells the story, for example, of a young man who, when dancing with a Scandinavian elf-woman, notices that she is blessed with a tail. “But he did not betray her. He said, ‘Pretty maid, you are losing your garter.’ His tact was rewarded by good luck all his life.”
Other elven women, we learn, “were beautiful from the front, but they were hollow behind, like a rotten tree. Because of this they never turned around in their dances.”
Fun fact: Why are fairies allergic to iron? Because they’re from the Stone Age. Duh.
The book is presented as a mini-encyclopedia, with entries alphabetized and cross-referenced. It’s intended for browsing, though—no table of contents and no index. Yvonne Gilbert’s illustrations are funny, lovely, or harrowing, depending on need. If I’d read this as a child I would have flipped quickly past the color plate of the Nuckelavee, a centaur-like Orkney sea-monster that is the stuff of nightmare.
I flip quickly past it now, come to think of it.
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Read information about the authorEarly Life
Katharine Briggs was born in Hampstead, London in 1898, and was the eldest of three sisters. The Briggs family, originally from Yorkshire, had built up a fortune in the 18th and 19th centuries through coal mining and owned a large colliery in Normanton, West Yorkshire. With such enormous wealth, Katharine and her family were able to live in luxury with little need to work. Briggs's father Ernest was often unwell and divided his time between leafy Hampstead and the clear air of Scotland. He was a watercolourist and would often take his children with him when he went to paint the landscape. An imaginative storyteller, he loved to tell his children tales and legends; these would have a great impact on the young Katharine, becoming her passion in later life.
When Briggs was 12 her father had Dalbeathie House built in Perthshire and the family moved permanently to Scotland; however, tragedy struck when he died two years later. Briggs and her two sisters, Winifred and Elspeth, developed a close bond with their mother, Mary, after this - all living together for almost fifty years.
As Briggs and her sisters grew older their main passion was for amateur dramatics. They wrote and performed their own plays at their home and Briggs would pursue her interest in theatre throughout her education. After leaving school she attended Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, graduating with a BA in 1918 and an MA in 1926. She specialised in the study of traditional folk tales and 17th-century English history.
Briggs continued her studies largely as a hobby, while living with her sisters and mother in Burford, Oxfordshire. She collected together traditional stories from across the country and the wider world, but did not publish them yet. Together she and her sisters performed in plays with local amateur dramatics groups and Briggs wrote historical novels set during the Civil War (also unpublished). When the Second World War started Briggs joined the WAAF and later taught at a school for the children of Polish refugees.
After the war Briggs threw herself into her folklore studies, completing her PhD on the use of folklore in 17th-century literature. In 1954, the first Katharine Briggs book was published, titled The Personnel of Fairyland, a guide to the folklore of Great Britain. This was followed by Hobberdy Dick (1955), a children's story about a hobgoblin in Puritan England. Though these books brought a small amount of interest, it was not until the 1960s and 1970s, following the deaths of her sisters and mother, that Briggs became a renowned folklorist. In 1963 she published another children's book, Kate Crackernuts, and became involved with the Folklore Society of the UK, later being elected as its president in 1967. Now a preeminent expert on fairy stories and folklore, she began to lecture across the country and by the 1970s she had been invited to give lectures in the United States and was regularly interviewed on television. In 1971 she published her masterpiece, the four-volume A Dictionary of Folk-Tales in the English Language. This work remains the definitive collection of British folk stories, becoming a vital resource for writers, academics and storytellers.
Katharine Briggs died suddenly at the age of 82 on 15th October 1980. At the time of her death she had been working on a memoir of her childhood days in Scotland and Hampstead, where her love of folklore began.
Information taken from http://www.foliosociety.com/author/ka...
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