Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Definitions: Faerie vs. Fairy

This is in response to Maeglin's post about cool definitions.

Throughout the entire Tree and Leaf essay, Tolkien makes the distinction between Faerie and fairy. I never knew this existed...I always thought that Faerie was just a more awesome, older way of spelling fairy. However, Tolkien separates the two into place vs. being. Faerie almost always refers to the "Perilous Realm", a world of confusion, darkness, and trickery in which primordial magic reigns supreme. Fairy is the subjective term, dependent on cultural interpretation and closely related to the word elf.

I'm interested in modern literature that actually explores the realm of Faerie as a literal and unique place. I highly recommend Tad Williams' War of the Flowers. Does anyone else have a Faerie story they want to recommend? :)

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