7 thoughts on “Maureen Duffy, The Erotic World of Faery

    1. Argh, yes. I constantly confuse the two. I did this in a lecture once and had students writing to me about it for days. Fixed now, thanks.


  1. Have just finished this fascinating book (relevant to my current research into the mid-nineteenth century, but actually she covers such a vast field that it’s relevant to everything!) and have been looking around to see if others, like me, felt the Freudianism too heavy-handed. It seems you did; I’ll be interested to see the reactions of other folklorists. But I totally agree with you that she is an excellent literary historian and an excellent writer.


    1. Yes, though I think the period in which she was writing would have influenced the sheer amount of Freudianism here. Might be worth checking to see if Jungianism was also present (though I didn’t notice it, and it is quite unmistakeable), as this too was big in the 1970s.


  2. Sounds as if she isn’t keen on Jung. Speaking of the desire to escape from the difficulties of life in the earlier twentieth century, she writes: “It led too to the perversion of the observed, clinical insights of Freud into the neo-mysticism of Jungian pseudo-psychology.” (end of the chapter “Do You Believe in fairies?”, p 200 in the paperback edition I have.)

    Reading this book has interested me in her other work as novelist and poet—I think I tried one of her novels once and for some reason didn’t get into it, but they are very well-regarded.

    I’m now going to read a recent book on fairy stories, ‘Seven Miles of Steel Thistles,’ by Katherine Langrish. Then of course there’s Marina Warner…


    1. I would like to try Langrish, that book is very well regarded. But Warner – she’s like Robert Macfarlane, or he is like her: lofty writing about essential verities, masses of facts and concepts, but a feeling of no rigour, no connecting tissue, just nothing there, underneath the show. I tried one of her books (think it might have been Signs and Wonders) and was so disappointed.


  3. Yes, I’m sure the Langrish book is excellent. Very interesting what you say about Warner, and about Robert Macfarlane—actually I heard Macfarlane speak and loved his presentation, and I have a couple of his books, though haven’t yet read them properly….I admire what I know of him so far, so I am interested in this verdict of “no rigour, no connecting tissue…” As I say, haven’t yet read him thoroughly and so will see if I find the same….. I do support his Lost Words project though. Warner has recently come out with a new book…


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