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Book Information: Kingdoms of Elfin, the

Kingdoms of Elfin, the (1977) [Collection]
by Sylvia Townsend Warner Rating: No votes (Rate!)
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Summary (From the publisher):

Parallel to the mortal world, and sometimes touching it, the Kingdoms of Elfin exist in their own reality. In their records, which go back for centuries, and in their ways of life, Sylvia Townsend Warner has uncovered all their charm, their wantonness, and even their cruelty. She has invented a chronicle from the lives of some Elfins she has found particularly to her own sly taste. It may not be surprising if she pokes fun at mortals now and then, along with Elfins, but let not anyone imagine that her Elfindom is fey or symbolic or just playful!

Her kingdoms range through Britain and Brittany to Lapland and the Balkans, and even beyond to the most ancient and elegant of all, the Peri Kingdom in Persia. They have ruling Queens, with Consorts and attractive Favorites; an aristocracy to rule and to enliven society; changelings, too, who cause drama; and hosts of Elfin servitors. She establishes them all by name and station and reports their characteristic stories.

So Tiffany, a human changeling, craves to fly like the Elfins...Elphenor of Zuy in Holland, storm-tossed, flies safely to Suffolk and meets the green girl Weasel; their idyl in a belfry echoes their Liebestod....The Welsh Elfins, who in five hundred years have learned to remove mountains by singing, also try song to remove the district nurse on her bicycle....

But these are only hints and flashes of their history, circumstantially reported by this creative archivist. The final episode, about a believing mortal from Aberdeen trapped in Elfindom, draws together many of the Elfins' characteristics. He finds them "fickle in loves and hates, fickle and passionate in their pursuits." But he becomes a tranquil truant, devoted to their serenity, free like them from obligations. "They are as straightforward as the scent of a rose, as a wasp sting."


  • The One and the Other
  • The Five Black Swans
  • Elphenor and Weasel
  • The Blameless Triangle
  • The Revolt at BrocÚliande
  • The Mortal Milk
  • Beliard
  • Visitors to a Castle
  • The Power of Cookery
  • Winged Creatures
  • The Search for an Ancestress
  • The Climate of Exile
  • The Late Sir Glamie
  • Castor and Pollux
  • The Occupation
  • Foxcastle

Original title: The Kingdoms of Elfin
Original languages: English


Genre: FictionFantasyWorld of Faerie

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