Airy Nothings: Imagining the Otherworld of Faerie from the Middle Ages to the Age of Reason

Essays in Honour of Alasdair A. MacDonald

Series:

Ever since the Middle Ages the Otherworld of Faerie has been the object of serious intellectual scrutiny. What science in the end dismissed as airy nothings was given a local habitation and a name by art. This book presents some of the main chapters from the history and tradition of otherworldly spirits and fairies in the folklore and literature of the British Isles and Northern Europe. In eleven contributions different experts deal with some of the main problems posed by the scholarly and artistic confrontation with the Otherworld, which not only fuelled the imagination, but also led to the ultimate redundancy of learned perceptions of that Otherworld as it was finally obfuscated by the clarity of an enlightened age.

Contributors include: Henk Dragstra, John Flood, Julian Goodare, Tette Hofstra, Robert Maslen, Richard North, Karin E. Olsen, David J. Parkinson, Rudolf Suntrup, Jan R. Veenstra, and Helen Wilcox.
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Biographical Note

Karin E. Olsen, Ph.D. (1995), is University Lecturer in English at the University of Groningen. She has published on the literature and culture of Anglo-Saxon England, Viking Scandinavia and Early Ireland.

Jan R. Veenstra, Ph.D. (1997), is University Lecturer in English at Radboud University Nijmegen. He has published in the areas of literature, intellectual history and medieval magic.

Table of contents

Introduction
Alasdair MacDonald: In Praise of Versatility
Notes on Contributors
List of Illustrations

Marlowe’s Ghost: The Second Report of Doctor John Faustus
ROBERT W. MASLEN

Rhetorical Play in Cornelius Agrippa: The Declamation on the Nobility and Preeminence of the Female Sex
JOHN FLOOD

Ein Schwert in Frauenhand: Notizen zu einigen volkssprachigen Texten des Mittelalters
TETTE HOFSTRA

Female Voices from the Otherworld: The Role of Women in the Early Irish Echtrai
KARIN E. OLSEN

Morgan le Fay and the Fairy Mound in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
RICHARD NORTH

Cresseid ‘Beyond the Pale’
DAVID J. PARKINSON

Die Widersacher des allmächtigen Gottes: Teufel und Dämonen in den Concordantiae Caritatis des Ulrich von Lilienfeld
RUDOLF SUNTRUP

Boundaries of the Fairy Realm in Scotland
JULIAN GOODARE

‘Bull-Begger’: An Early Modern Scare-Word
HENK DRAGSTRA

Shaggie Thighs and Aery Formes: Satyres and Faeries in Ben Jonson’s Oberon
HELEN WILCOX

Paracelsian Spirits in Pope’s Rape of the Lock
JAN R. VEENSTRA

Index

Readership

All interested in English and Old Germanic literature, folklore and the history of ideas; especially those interested in intellectual discussions concerning fairies, spirits, demons and the Otherworld.

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