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The Land of the Green Man


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A captivating modern bestiary by a mistress of modern folklore.

About the Author

Carolyne Larrington is Fellow and Tutor in Medieval English Literature at St John's College, Oxford. Her previous books include The Women's Companion to Mythology (1997), The Poetic Edda (2008), King Arthur's Enchantresses: Morgan and her Sisters in Arthuran Tradition (I.B.Tauris, 2006) and Magical Tales: Myth, Legend and Enchantment in Children's Books (2013).


'Indispensably inspiring.' - Times Higher Education; 'Carolyne Larrington illuminates how shallowly the UK's rich folklore and mysticism lie under the surface' - Wanderlust; 'Caroline Larrington's joyous celebration of English folklore delights in the way these stories bounce around the culture, never quite going away. Living in an infinite universe, we search for beginnings and ends. The Land of the Green Man is a celebration of the long-living tales of a short-lived folk' - Frank Cottrell Boyce, New Statesman; 'In this fascinating study of Britain's folkloric landscape, Larrington traces ancient legends to their most modern reworkings, from Yorkshire lore to Harry Potter. An enjoyable tangle of kelpies, tolls, night-riders, changelings, goblins and selkies regale us before the Green Man himself grins out from the foliage.' - Christopher Howse, Sunday Telegraph; 'Fascinating' - Daily Telegraph; 'Larrington's enthusiasm and exhaustive knowledge give the old tales an anecdotal liveliness - Nina Lyon, The Spectator; 'The folklore of Britain abounds with local tales about the activities of one sort of supernatural being or another - giants, elves, hobs, boggarts, dragons or shape-changing witches. The stories are vivid, dramatic and often humorous. Carolyne Larrington has made a representative selection, which she re-tells in a simple, direct way which is completely faithful to the style and spirit of her sources. Most collectors of local legends have been content merely to note how they may serve to explain some feature of the landscape or to warn of some supernatural danger, but Carolyne Larrington probes more deeply. By perceptive and delicate analysis, she explores their inner meanings. She shows how, through lightly coded metaphors, they deal with the relations of man and woman, master and servant, the living and the dead, the outer semblance and the inner self, mankind and the natural environment. Her fascinating book gives us a fuller insight into the value of our traditional tales.' - Jacqueline Simpson, Visiting Professor of Folklore, University of Chichester, and former President of the Folklore Society, London; 'This delightful book makes terrific bedside reading, but should also be kept in the car for reference on drives through the English countryside. It combines a charmingly informal style with impressive learning, mixing personal anecdotes and retellings of local legends with a deep knowledge of the history and literature of our islands, and evocative descriptions of the landscape. Don't leave home without it!' - Elizabeth Archibald, Professor of English, Durham University, co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to The Arthurian Legend

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