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Synopsis

DURING the years 1907-9 this study first took shape, being then based mainly on literary sources; and during the latter year it was successfully presented to the Faculty of Letters of the University of Rennes, Brittany, for the Degree of Docteur-ès-Lettres. Since then I have re-investigated the whole problem of the Celtic belief in Fairies, and have collected very much fresh material. Two years ago the scope of my original research was limited to the four chief Celtic countries, but now it includes all of the Celtic countries.

In the present study, which has profited greatly by criticisms of the first passed by scholars in Britain and in France, the original literary point of view is combined with the broader point of view of anthropology. This study, the final and more comprehensive form of my views about the 'Fairy-Faith', would never have been possible had I not enjoyed during many months the kindly advice and constant encouragement of Mr. R. R. Marett, Reader in Social Anthropology in the University of Oxford, and Fellow of Exeter College.

During May 1910 the substance of this essay in its pan-Celtic form was submitted to the Board of the Faculty of Natural Science of Oxford University for the Research Degree of Bachelor of Science, which was duly granted. But the present work contains considerable material not contained in the essay presented to the Oxford examiners, the Right Hon. Sir John Rhy^s and Mr. Andrew Lang; and, therefore, I alone assume entire responsibility for all its possible shortcomings, and in particular for some of its more speculative theories, which to some minds may appear to be in conflict with orthodox views, whether of the theologian or of the man of science. These theories, however venturesome they may appear, are put forth in almost every case with the full approval of some reliable, scholarly Celt; and as such they are chiefly intended to make the exposition of the belief in fairies as completely and as truly Celtic as possible, without much regard for non-Celtic opinion, whether this be in harmony with Celtic opinion or not.

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