Naru's Happy Travel
DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.14354/yjk.2008.30.75
빅토리아 시대 켈트 동화의 사회문화적 배경 연구*
건국대
원고접수일: 2008년 10월 30일, 수정일: 2008년 11월 26일, 게재확정일: 2008년 12월 5일
A Study on the Sociocultural Background of Celtic Fairy Tales in Victorian Era.**
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Abstract
This study examines Celtic fairy tales relating to the sociocultural background of Ireland in Victorian Age. W. B. Yeats's Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, 1888 and Irish Fairy Tales, 1892, The Celtic Twilight, 1893, and Joseph Jacobs's Celtic Fairy Tales, 1892 and More Celtic Fairy Tales, 1894 are correlated with the Irish celtic history, religion and culture. They are best known as collectors of fairy tales at that time.
Jacobs thought that the fate of the Celt in the British Empire bids fair to resemble that of the Greeks among the Romans, "they went forth to battle, but they always fell, yet the captive Celt has enslaved his captor in the realm of imagination." And he insisted that nowhere else was there so large and consistent a body of oral tradition about the national and mythical heroes as amongst the Gaels, and especially concerned that the Irish tales and ballads had this peculiarity.
The aim of Jacobs's volumes is to present to English children the vision and color, the magic and charm, of the Celtic folk-imagination. While Yeats's volumes show his interest in spiritual beings and his nationalism. Yeats who believes that faith to perpetuate in the three early Cycles of Irish folktales taught by the Druid sees in Tir-na-n'Og, the land of the Sidhe, Plato's and Plotinus' "yonder" when our souls descend whither they return.
The Celtic beliefs in rebirth and in the otherworld are connected with beliefs surrounding the burial mounds of the Megalithic people. Among the Celts these tombs were connected with religious usages, chiefly with a cult of gods and fairy-like beings. Beginning with the Ulster Cycle, the sidhe and the Tuatha de Danann merge and become one, and renamed "fairy." A tale entitled "Connla and the Fairy Maiden" chosen by Jacobs is the earliest fairy tale of modern Europe and contains an early account of one of the most characteristic Celtic conceptions, that of the earthly paradise, the isle of Youth, Tir-na-n'Og. And in Fairy Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry there are also new characters like changlings, merrow, leprechauns, banshee, pookas.
Samain, the first of November is the beginning of Celtic Year and the biggest festival of Ireland. On the November Eve the sidhe dance with the ghosts and witches make their spells. When the soul has left the body, it is drawn away, sometimes, by fairies. The souls of the dead sometimes take the shapes of animals. And there are 'ghosts' in fairy tales. Yeats chose Lady Wilde's "The Black Lamb" in his volume. And there are 'witches' and 'fairy doctors' in Irish fairy tales. "The Horned Women" of Lady Wilde chosen by the two collectors is the famous tale of witches. Witches and fairy doctors receive their power from opposite dynasties; the witch from evil spirits and her own malignant will; the fairy doctor from the fairies.
Samain was adopted by the Christian missionaries to serve their own purposes and renamed "All Souls Day." When the Christian missionaries came to Ireland in the fifth century AD they were able to infiltrate the oral traditions of the Celtic people and infuse Christian beliefs through process of recording the Celtic tales in written form. And the Christian missionaries create the biographies of Christian saints known as "The Legend of the Saint." So there are 'Saints' and 'Priests' in Irish fairy tales.
When the pagan gods of Ireland, Tuatha de Danann, robbed of worship and offerings, grew smaller and smaller in the popular imagination, until they turned into the fairies, the pagan heroes grew bigger and bigger, until they turned into the giants. So there are 'giants' in Irish fairy tales like "A Legend of Knockmany." In three major Irish tales cycles (the Mythological cycle, the Ulster Cycle, and the Fenian Cycle) there are so many kings and queens and princesses.
Beliefs in the fairy faith, the remnants of an earlier faith than Christianity, have influenced the more modern motifs and characters of Irish Celtic fairy tales.


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