A Midsummer Night's Dream 2012 Tour
The Truth of Faerie Folklore
Special lecture by Mary Ellen Lamb
Monday, April 23, 4pm
Marion Carnegie Library
In earlier centuries fairies were taken much more seriously, and well they might be, for they originate in part out of a dim memory of the pagan sprites of the woodlands: the fauns, satyrs, and nymphs of the Greco-Roman mythology, together with the gnomes, elves, and kobolds of the Teutonic imaginings and the sorcerers and "little folk" of Celtic tales. They were the mysterious forces of nature, usually capricious, often malevolent.
-from Asimov's Guide to Shakespeare (Isaac Asimov)
In A Midsummer Night's Dream Shakespeare introduces us to the Faerie King and Queen (Oberon and Titania), Puck (a mischievous sprite with many names) and Titania's Faerie Court. Folklore stipulates that on Midsummer's Night, the shortest night of the year, the veil between the Fairy world and the mortal realm is thin enough that fairies become visible to humans. This magical night causes merriment for our Midsummer characters, but the fairies they encounter have more than just magical backgrounds. The fairies of Shakespeare's world come from a supernatural belief, yes, but they are amplified by stories told to children to encourage them to behave and many other white lies to get mere mortals out of trouble. Professor Mary Ellen Lamb will explore how Faeries came to be known in Elizabethan England and beyond.
Location: Marion Carnegie Public Library
206 South Market Street
Mary Ellen Lamb,
This program is made possible in part by a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Illinois General Assembly.