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Kingdoms of Elfin by Sylvia Townsend Warner

Kingdoms of Elfin by Sylvia Townsend Warner

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From the publisher:

‘A book for anyone who has heard the horns of Elfin in the distance at twilight, as much as it is for readers who crave fine literature and are certain that elves and their kingdoms are bosh.’ Neil Gaiman

Sylvia Townsend Warner’s last short stories were originally published in The New Yorker, and appeared in book form in 1977. This Handheld Classics reprint brings these sixteen sly and enchanting stories of Elfindom to a new readership, and shows Warner’s mastery of realist fantasy that recalls the success of her first novel, the witchcraft classic Lolly Willowes (1926).

In Kingdoms of Elfin Sylvia Townsend Warner explores the morals, domestic practices, politics and passions of Elfins. She follows their affairs with mortals, and their daring flights across the North Sea. The Kingdoms of Brocéliande in France, Zuy in the Low Countries, Gedanken in Austria and Blokula in Lappland entertain Ambassadors, hunt with wolves and rear changelings for the courtiers’ amusement. But love and hate strike at fairies of all ranks, as do poverty and the passions of the heart. Enter Elfindom with care.

The foreword is by the noted US fantasy author Greer Gilman, and the introduction is by Ingrid Hotz-Davies.

‘The subtlety of Warner’s vision, and ultimately of her empathy towards her fellow beings, is a refusal despite all inclinations to separate the rational and the irrational, the material and the immaterial, the earthly and the yearning for something else. She might have dismissed faith but she understood the impulse towards an elsewhere.’ The Times Literary Supplement, 26 October 2018.