Term of Award

Spring 2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

Howard Keeley

Committee Member 1

Joe Pellegrino

Committee Member 2

Mary Villeponteaux


This essay is a look at a little known Irish poet, William Allingham, who invokes the fairy as a vehicle for a political change in Ireland. It offers a close reading of a few of his poems as well as historically approaches the use of fairies in the popular culture of the nineteenth century. In Chapter I, I use an historical approach to discuss the biography of William Allingham and his place in Irish literature as a poet we have neglected. I also discuss a cultural study of the portrayal and use of the fairy in the nineteenth century. This chapter begins my essay as a foundation of Allingham's knowledge of the fairy from childhood. In Chapter II, I use a New Critical Approach to discuss the use of the fairy as a nationalist symbol in an amalgamation of Allingham's works. This chapter addresses Allingham's Diary as well as his poems Vivant! and Fireside Magic in order to discuss Allingham's religio-cultural anxieties. In Chapter III, I discuss both W.B. Yeats and William Allingham in reference to their use of the scary fairy as a means of working out their anxieties over the future of Ireland. I discuss Yeats's "The Stolen Child" as well as Allingham's The Fairies and The Ban-shee, A Ballad of Ancient Erin. To conclude, I look at the use of fairies in the popular culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with an emphasis on Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl series.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material


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