Desktop version

Home arrow Language & Literature arrow The Absent Mother in the Cultural Imagination : Missing, Presumed Dead


  • 1. Contemporary research (for example Joosen 2011; Warner 2014) on the editing, retelling, and translation of so-called traditional fairy tales suggests that the stereotypical ‘evil stepmother’ is the product of nineteenth-century patriarchal cultural norms and social values, and not a legacy of original oral traditions.
  • 2. In African-American communities, othermothers are women ‘who assist blood mothers in the responsibilities of child care for short- to long-term periods, in informal or formal arrangements’ (James 1993, 45). The term also refers to wise, resourceful women who guide community members and command ‘a powerful position of respect’ (James 1993, 48).
  • 3. The term ‘fey’ means ‘fated to die’, while ‘fay’ refers to illusion, enchantment, and the land of the Fae (fairies) (Oxford 1989, 864-865).
  • 4. Holly Black refers to the two standard monographs on Bridget Cleary’s case: Angela Bourke’s The Burning of Bridget Cleary (New York: Viking, 2000) and Joan Hoff and Marian Yeates’ The Cooper’s Wife is Missing: The Trials of Bridget Cleary (New York: Basic, 2000).
  • 5. The Good Neighbors’ references to folklore are examples of ‘the folkloresque’ rather than directly pointing to existing folklore traditions. ‘The folkloresque is popular culture’s own (emic) perception and performance of folklore’ (Foster and Tolbert 2016, 5).
  • 6. Nia is the Welsh variant of the name Niamh (meaning ‘bright’), who is the daughter of the sea god in Celtic mythology. In Irish legends, she seduces the culture hero Oisin and takes him to Tir na nOg (the Land ofYouth), one of the names of the otherworld.
  • 7. ‘Doth the acquiring of this second sight make any change on the acquirer’s body, mind, or actions?’ asks Robert Kirk in The Secret Commonwealth ([1893] 2008, 84). It does for Rue, because that is when she starts questioning her own identity and discovers that she is half fairy, half human.
  • 8. Aubrey, derived from German Alberich, means ‘Fair ruler of the Little People’.
  • 9. Ageas, orgeis, is a taboo or obligation imposed magically on a person. It is a common plot device in Celtic legend that the breaking of such a taboo leads to the hero’s death.
  • 10. Rue (Rutagraveolens) is also the name of a bitter-tasting herb used in folk medicine and, in some Eastern European traditions, associated with virginity.
  • 11. Amanda (gerund of amare, to love) means ‘worthy or deserving of love’.
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >