Erotic World of Faery, The

The Erotic World of Faery

Erotic World of Faery, The

In her first full-length non-fiction work, Maureen Duffy examines the erotic meanings, hidden or obvious, behind the fantastic element in English literature. Those who have read her fiction will realise that she has long been interested in questions of myths. Now from the Dark Ages and the decline of the pagan gods and the fertility cults to the science fiction of the present day she traces themes, symbolisms, shifting nuances, double meanings whether conscious or unconscious, and a whole underworld of myth. She examines the clash between the world of St Augustine and the pagan world of the satyr; she looks at the coming of the fairies into the Christian twilight, and the concept of the elfin and the Arthurian knight; and gives us a glimpse of the rich background of folk legend. With the Renaissance is revealed a transmutation of the whole atmosphere of faery, and Miss Duffy looks closely at what Spenser meant in The Faerie Queene and what Shakespeare meant in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and later, differently, in The Tempest. Milton’s supernatural is different again; and the satires of Pope and Swift mark another mutation. Gothic novels and fairy tales, Romantics and Pre-Raphaelites, ’decadents’, exponents of whimsy, teachers and tellers of children’s stories, all have their own expression of the fantastic, each with its underlying significance. Not least in importance is the whole idea of the ‘other’ in modern fiction. The illustrators of the faery world also receive some penetrating looks: Fuseli, Doyle, Beardsley, all make their contribution.
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15 Jan 2014
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About the author

  • Maureen Duffy

    Maureen Duffy

    Maureen Duffy (b. 1933 in Worthing, Sussex) is a notable contemporary British poet, playwright and novelist. After a tough childhood, Duffy took her degree in English from King’s College London. She went on to be a schoolteacher from 1956 to 1961, and edited three editions of a poetry magazine called the sixties. She then turned to writing full-time as a poet and playwright after being commissioned to produce a screenplay by Granada Television. Her first novel, written at the suggestion of a publisher, That's How It Was (1962), was published to great acclaim. Her first openly lesbian novel was The Microcosm (1966), set in the famous lesbian Gateways club in London.

    Titles by Maureen Duffy

    The Erotic World of Faery
    The Microcosm
    The Passionate Shepherdess
    That's How It Was Maureen Duffy