The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies. A.E.’s Copy (1933)
Author: Robert Kirk
Book ID: 66466
The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies. Comment by Andrew Lang. Introduction by R.B. Cunningham Graham. Sterling: Eneas Mackay, 1933. first Trade Edition. Pp128. Lavender cloth boards, lettered in gilt, in publisher’s dust jacket. Frontispiece plate of ‘The Hill of Faries, Aberfoyle’ by D.Y. Cameron. A nice bright copy.
Signed by George Russell (Æ) on front free endpaper.
One of the most sought after and enigmatic texts about Celtic fairies. Robert Kirk was an inquisitive 17th-century Scottish minister who took copious notes on the various beliefs of his parishioners. These beliefs included Faries, the phenomenon of second sight, doppelgangers, and other occult matters. It was first published from the original manuscript by Sir Walter Scott and again in the late 19th century by Andrew Lang, who wrote a lengthy introduction.
George William Russell (1867-1935) also known as Æ, was a follower of Theosophy, an occult philosophy largely influenced by Eastern spiritual beliefs and practices. To Russell the Sídhe (pre-Christian Irish gods or faerie people) represented the true and original race of Irish people. He published some 10 volumes of poetry as well as plays, novels and numerous essays, and he helped and encouraged many young Irish writers, such as Joyce, James Stephens, Padraic Colum, Seumas O’Sullivan, Frank O’Connor, Seán O’Faolain and Patrick Kavanagh.
Note on provenance: This copy once belong to Irish author & folklorist James Stephens, subsequently gifted by his step-daughter.