Wróżki i zacofanie irlandzkich chłopów w świetle wybranych dziewiętnastowiecznych dzienników z podróży
Keywords:fairies, Ireland, peasants, countryside, magic, nineteenth century
THE ROLE OF FAIRIES IN THE LIVES OF IRISH PEASANTS AND THEIR DEPICTION IN SELECTED NINETEENTH-CENTURY TRAVELOGUES
Life in the nineteenth-century Irish countryside was not easy. Irish peasants lived in abject poverty and struggled to make ends meet. They consumed almost only potatoes and famines occurred regularly. Peasants often blamed their hardships on fairies, whose various races were supposed to inhabit Ireland. Tales about fairies were very popular among travelers who visited Ireland in the nineteenth century and subsequently published books about their travels there. They often highlighted the role of magic in daily activities of the Irish. The aim of this paper is to discuss the role of fairies in the lives of Irish peasants and argue that by underlining the attachment of the Irish to magical creatures, travelers underscored the backwardness of Irish peasants and propagated negative stereotypes about the inhabitants of the Emerald Isle.
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