In the late 17th century, a Scottish minister went looking for supernatural creatures of "a middle nature betwixt man and angel." Robert Kirk roamed the Highlands, talking to his parishioners and other country folk about their encounters with fairies, wraiths, elves, doppelgangers, and other agents of the spirit world. Magic was a part of everyday life for Kirk and his fellow Highlanders, and this remarkable book offers rare glimpses into their enchanted realm.
Left in manuscript form upon the author's death in 1692, this volume was first published in 1815 at the behest of Sir Walter Scott. In 1893, the distinguished folklorist Andrew Lang re-edited the work. Lang's introduction to Kirk's extraordinary blend of science, religion, and superstition is included in this edition. For many years, The Secret Commonwealth was hard to find — available, if at all, only in scholarly editions. Academicians as well as lovers of myths and legends will prize this authoritative but inexpensive edition.
By Robert Kirk. Paperback. 144 pages. Published by New York Review of Books, 2019.