5 episodes

Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield introduce the themes of traditional British tales about fairies with some readings and songs, the inspiration for their new creative project 'Modern Fairies and Loathly Ladies'. Tales about the Other World, fairy lovers, fairies and children and helpful fairies, along with the monstrous females who must be disenchanted by the hero are the themes of the five episodes.
Modern Fairies is a unique collaboration between leading songwriters, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers and researchers to develop exciting new work, presenting fresh perspectives on what folklore means to us in the modern world.

Modern Fairies Oxford University

    • Courses

Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield introduce the themes of traditional British tales about fairies with some readings and songs, the inspiration for their new creative project 'Modern Fairies and Loathly Ladies'. Tales about the Other World, fairy lovers, fairies and children and helpful fairies, along with the monstrous females who must be disenchanted by the hero are the themes of the five episodes.
Modern Fairies is a unique collaboration between leading songwriters, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers and researchers to develop exciting new work, presenting fresh perspectives on what folklore means to us in the modern world.

    Introducing Fairies and Fairyland

    Introducing Fairies and Fairyland

    Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield introduce the Modern Fairies project and talk about traditional imaginings of fairyland. Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield in conversation about traditional British tales about fairies. In this first episode they talk about the ways in which mortals come into contact with the fairies, what happens when humans are taken into the Other World – the strange tricks that time plays, the dangers that human-fairy encounters run. They also introduce the Modern Fairies project in which writers, musicians and artists come together to make new creative responses to the fairy themes explore and outlines in the series. Brian McMahon reads some excerpts from the tales about fairies that are focused on this episode.

    • 34 min
    Fairy Wives and Fairy Lovers

    Fairy Wives and Fairy Lovers

    Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield talk about love and marriage between humans and fairies. Fairy mistresses and wives, humans captured by the fairies and animal brides feature in tales that address tensions in marriage, the longing to escape everyday life and find love elsewhere, and the sorrowful choices that women who marry away may have to make.

    • 32 min
    Helpful Fairies

    Helpful Fairies

    Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield discuss how fairies and humans can co-operate and assist each other. Although fairies can be highly dangerous there are domains of life where they need human help. Giving birth is one; human midwives are needed to help fairy babies into the world. Working with iron is inimical to many fairies too, and they will give fine rewards when humans fulfil the bargains they’ve made. And we also discover how fairies, particularly the trows of Orkney, love a good tune ….

    • 20 min
    Fairies, Children and Changelings

    Fairies, Children and Changelings

    Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield talk about the strange interest that fairies take in human infants, and the plight of children who stumble into this world, and can’t get home. We explore how fairies seem to have difficulty in giving birth, and they need humans midwives to help. One of the strangest medieval stories is that of the 'Green Children' who appear in the human world in twelfth-century Suffolk and can’t find their way home again. We also talk about changelings, the puny, wizened infants swapped by the fairies for healthy human children.

    • 23 min
    Loathly Ladies

    Loathly Ladies

    Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield talk about the loathly lady: the hideous hag who knows the secret that the hero seeks, and whom he must learn how to respect. In the last podcast of the current series, Carolyne Larrington and Fay Hield discuss the figure of the loathly lady. Sometimes transformed through her own agency, sometimes the victim of a spell, she knows the secret of what women really want; can the hero who marries her put his new-found knowledge into practice? We also talk about monstrously transformed women; those who await the hero with the courage to look beyond appearances to the inner beauty of the beast.

    • 27 min

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