James Herbert MacNair, Tamlaine, 1905
I return to a subject that has an abiding fashion for many visitors to the blog- and apparently me too: fairy sexuality and sensuality.
From the very earliest times, it seems, the idea of Faery was synonymous with irresistible beauty. Elf-women were called ‘shining’ by the Anglo-Saxons (aelfsceone) and this idea by no means ended with the arrival of the Normans and of the fairy women of romance. English writer Layamon in his history of Britain, The Brut, described the queen of Avalon, Argante, as the fairest of all maidens, “alven swithe sceone” (an elf most fair). The concept of radiant beauty persisted: the fairy queen who met Thomas the Rhymer at Huntlie bank was “a ladye bright” and, as late as Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor, the faes’ royal lady is still “radiant” (Act V, scene 5).
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