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Rough BeastsThe Monstrous in Irish Fiction, 1800-2000$
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Jack Fennell

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620344

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620344.001.0001

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We Dare Not Go A-Hunting

We Dare Not Go A-Hunting

Fairies, Deep Time, and the Irish Weird

(p.23) Chapter Two We Dare Not Go A-Hunting
Rough Beasts

Jack Fennell

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines Irish fairy lore from the standpoint of ‘weird’ fiction. A subset of horror, fantasy and science fiction, weird fiction emphasises the chaotic nature of the universe and humanity’s precarious position within it, usually with reference to unfathomable scales of time and distance. The Book of Invasions, being the closest that Ireland has to a ‘creation’ myth, positions the Gaels as the last in a series of tribes to settle on the island, and the only fully human tribe in that series; the stories of the daoine sidhe, the original inhabitants of the country, complicate Ireland’s national history and imbue the very landscape with gruesome significance. The texts considered in this chapter all tap into this latent weirdness, whether by invoking the fairy-folk directly, through extrapolations of evolution, or via ruminations on antiquity and the Sublime.

Keywords:   weird fiction, fairies, romanticism, antiquity, evolution

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