Kingdoms of Elfin

Kingdoms of Elfin Elfindom is an aristocratic society jealous of its privileges The ruling classes engage in such pursuits as patronizing the arts or hunting with the Royal Pack of Werewolves while the lower orders t

  • Title: Kingdoms of Elfin
  • Author: Sylvia Townsend Warner
  • ISBN: 9780140048131
  • Page: 188
  • Format: Paperback
  • Elfindom is an aristocratic society, jealous of its privileges The ruling classes engage in such pursuits as patronizing the arts or hunting with the Royal Pack of Werewolves, while the lower orders take pleasure in conducting brutal raiding parties into the world to torment mortals.The Kingdoms of Elfin are diverse and widely scattered than is often thought from thElfindom is an aristocratic society, jealous of its privileges The ruling classes engage in such pursuits as patronizing the arts or hunting with the Royal Pack of Werewolves, while the lower orders take pleasure in conducting brutal raiding parties into the world to torment mortals.The Kingdoms of Elfin are diverse and widely scattered than is often thought from the Welsh Elfins who, though constitutionally incapable of faith, remove mountains, and the elegant and witty French Court of Broc liande where castration almost becomes a vogue, to the Kingdom of Zuy in the Low Countries, trafficking suppositories and religious pictures.Sylvia Townsend Warner s richly exuberant imagination combined with the calm precision of her language conjures up a sublunary realm that is entirely convincing.

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    About " Sylvia Townsend Warner "

  • Sylvia Townsend Warner

    Sylvia Townsend Warner was born at Harrow on the Hill, the only child of George Townsend Warner and his wife Eleanora Nora Hudleston Her father was a house master at Harrow School and was, for many years, associated with the prestigious Harrow History Prize which was renamed the Townsend Warner History Prize in his honor, after his death in 1916 As a child, Sylvia seemingly enjoyed an idyllic childhood in rural Devonshire, but was strongly affected by her father s death.She moved to London and worked in a munitions factory at the outbreak of World War I She was friendly with a number of the Bright Young Things of the 1920s Her first major success was the novel Lolly Willowes In 1923 Warner met T F Powys whose writing influenced her own and whose work she in turn encouraged It was at T.F Powys house in 1930 that Warner first met Valentine Ackland, a young poet The two women fell in love and settled at Frome Vauchurch in Dorset Alarmed by the growing threat of fascism, they were active in the Communist Party of Great Britain, and visited Spain on behalf of the Red Cross during the Civil War They lived together from 1930 until Ackland s death in 1969 Warner s political engagement continued for the rest of her life, even after her disillusionment with communism She died on 1 May 1978.

  • 263 Comments

  • I enjoyed Kingdoms of Elfin, a quirky, unusual collection of short stories recounting life among the various kingdoms (queendoms, actually) of Faerie.Of the sixteen stories, my favorites were:"The Revolt at Broceliande," which recounts the precarious position of mortal changelings in a fey court."The Search for an Ancestress," where a European fairy, Joost, learns how dangerous it can be to return to one's homeland."The Occupation," another tale of the dangers of mortal infatuation with Faerie, [...]


  • This is a reread of a favorite book. Good lord, Warner's stylistic control is perfect, I am at her feet. Unfortunately the book is so much its own strange creature that there's very little it can offer to modern genre fiction -- its blood is a compound of dew, soot, and aconite, and it does not easily breed.


  • KINGDOMS OF ELFIN, by Sylvia Townsend WarnerLet us establish this at the very beginning: these are not Tolkien’s elves, neither the noble and aloof elves of The Lord of the Rings, not the passionate and reckless elves of the Silmarillion. Where they are passionate, it is of another type altogether. They are sophisticated, fashionable creatures, egotistical, and selfish, and even though capable of intense attachments, they are generally fickle: essentially a cold-hearted species. The stories in [...]


  • A glorious collection of stories, reminiscent of Susanna Clarke's The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, and of Mervyn Peake (my only experience with his writing being Gormenghast), and to some extent The King of Elfland's Daughter and Lud-in-the-MistWarner wrote matter-of-factly about fantastic things; her long-lived fairy courtiers are fickle, unpleasant, often stupid creatures, and yet she imbues them with a plain, tricky charm.The collection is loosely linked, story by story. Kingdoms [...]


  • Deeply strange and often amazing but rarely enchanting: if there can be such a thing as a clear-headed, unsentimental study of a phenomenon that doesn't exist, then this 20th century English author and formidable fantasist (Lolly Willowes, Mr Fortune's Maggot) has accomplished exactly that. Kingdoms of Elfin consists of sixteen stories most of which appeared in the New Yorker in the early to mid 1970's Warner's last work it was published posthumously in 1977.The stories are loosely linked - an o [...]


  • In 2006, while I was reading The Ladies of Grace Adieu, I happened to meet Susanna Clarke's husband through a mutual friend. And I said to him how, for all the fantasy I'd read, I'd never encountered anything quite like hers - was he aware of much that had influenced her, or came anywhere near it? And he recommended this book, which of course I then sought out. But the time-frame here might clue you in that I didn't devour it like I did Clarke's too-few books. I can certainly see a glancing rese [...]


  • A collection of wickedly witty stories about an imagined world of Elfin kingdoms (though they are all ruled by rather fickle queens, and their kings tend to be in rather precarious positions).Although mainly about the Elfin aristocracy, there is also a rag-tag collection of common elfins, changelings, werewolves and humans to add a little breadth and depth. The locales are mainly northern Europe, with the occasional excursion to eastern Europe and the Near East. The time is vaguely 13th to 17th [...]



  • This collection of interrelated short stories by Sylvia Townsend Warner surprised and delighted me continually. I felt very acutely, while reading, that I had stumbled upon something special, a literary territory unknown to most people. The last book to give me a similar feeling, not too long ago actually, was Robert Aickman’s The Wine-Dark Sea, and I consider Kingdoms of Elfin an equal, if wholly different, achievement in the art of the short story. It is probably the most fully-realized and [...]


  • This one took a long, long time for me to finish, and I have a feeling I'll be pondering it for quite some time to come. It wasn't the quality of the writing at fault for my slowness in reading, oh noeach of these stories is full of splendid, glittering prose. Most of them managed to disturb me in some way. Not in an overtly horrifying way, like Poe's short stories. It's just that the fairies of Sylvia Townsend Warner's "Kingdoms of Elfin" (which should really be "Queendoms of Elfin", but our be [...]


  • Amazing book about faeries. Her writing is beautiful, quirky and intelligent. These faery communities are the most charming and strange I have ever read about. They abduct humans, play pranks, turn invisible at will, fly, keep cats and werewolves. They even knit. She has a great sense of humour and timing. Um, I really loved it, Read it.


  • Masterfully written literary fairy legends for adults in the best sense. Townsend Warner creates a compelling international world studded with mostly hidden and always mercurial, amoral fairy communities inhabited by beings who play with each others and with humans as cats play with rodents.


  • "It was amazing" about sums up my feelings on this.Warner's take on the fairies/Elfins themselves, of course, is the real star here; goofy and sympathetic one minute, appallingly heartless the next, they fit the spirit of the old beliefs about the Fair Folk perfectly, though the individual details differ greatly (they have fixed lifespans, they aren't diminutive shape-shifters, they have no link to the afterlife, which isn't confirmed to exist in this setting beyond the appearance of one ghost). [...]


  • If there can be such a thing as a clear-headed, unsentimental study of a phenomenon that doesn't exist, then this 20th century English author and formidable fantasist (Lolly Willowes, Mr Fortune's Maggot) has accomplished exactly that.Kingdoms of Elfin consists of sixteen stories most of which appeared in the New Yorker in the early to mid 1970's. Warner's last work, it was published posthumously in 1977.The stories are loosely linked - an occasional character will appear in more than one story, [...]


  • I so loved The Corner That Held Them and was hoping for another book like that gem. Unfortunately, I found these stories plain. Most of them were ok but they failed to hook me in during a recent reading slump. This book is now overdue and was an interlibrary loan so my chances of ever finishing it are not good. The copy I borrowed was an awesome old school library book with the loud cellophane plastic covering with the gold edges at the bottom and top. It also smelled just like I remember all my [...]


  • We read about 25% of the book. None of the three of us liked this book at all. None of the three of us finished this book. I knew it was not written for children--but I just got finished explaining what the Eunuch specialist was cutting off exactly and why. I read it in high school and didn't like it then either. I am wondering why I thought we'd give it a try--I guess I thought that whole Lord of the Rings vibe would be interesting to the boys, but I was wrong. STW does a wonderful job with the [...]


  • This book was fantastic! I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the fey or folklore in general. Sylvia Townsend Warner is a master storyteller and in "Kingdoms of Elfin" she approaches the realm of fey from many different angles. This book is a compilation of short stories, each taking place in a different part of the world. The stories are beautifully told and the characters have all the mischief associated with the fey. I only wish that Warner had wrote more fantasy literature.


  • You can see the influence of Heian writings from Japan in this collection of unapologetic, crisp short stories by Warner. Stories of the faeries who are not so different from humans in many of the ways that count, these tales often seemed to have a cutting social commentary to them. Although I don't know if that was intended by the author, their original publication in the New Yorker makes me highly suspicious. Interesting and often terrible tales that certainly entertain and are beautifully wri [...]


  • Unique and like nothing else I've read about the fairy realm and how they conduct their affairs. I have to wonder how Tolkien would have viewed Townsend Warner's take on fairy culture? It's a collection of short stories she wrote for the New Yorker and posthumously compiled. Perhaps not designed to be read entirely in sequence the stories are however loosely and thematically tied together. Prepare yourself for the wondrous, macabre and somewhat amoral independent Kingdoms of Elfin.


  • This is a collection of stories about the fairy kingdoms, written by a member of the famous Bloomsbury set, which included Virginia Woolfe. Not knowing much about this group, I had great hopes of this book. I was very disappointed. The stories end abruptly, and usually badly. For example one story about two runaway lovers tells of their life and adventures together, and then has them freeze to death in the snow one night. Very unsatisfying. I couldn't finish the book.


  • A curious read: hard-edged, unsentimental stories dealing with the intersection between mortals and the world of fairies. That these stories were published in the 1970s in The New Yorker surprises me. Slightly reminiscent of Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber.


  • Very interesting idea (fairyland, a matriarchal monarchy, extends throughout the mortal world), complete with insightful witticisms. I am sad to report, however, that I was bored half the time. But it's really nice! Check it out.


  • The fairy universe is not what you thought it was in this series of short stories. A fascinating, well-done telling of an imaginaryculture with none of the twee, cutesy-ootsey dreck that infests bad fairy stories. Warner is a master.


  • A book about fairies that you don't have to be embarrassed about reading. Looking-glass versions of monarchies/aristocracy/courts. Their amorality is interesting and sometimes funny. (Oh did not quite finish this.)


  • I wish this collection was more well known. It's sly, beautiful, and often pensive--wistful, even--as it uses the fae to skewer modern society and explore the other.


  • A re-read. I was so happy to get my hands on a copy for my own library! Literary short-stories set in fictional elfin kingdoms. Full of wit and poignancy. Readers of Saki should like this.



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