chapter
41 Pages

Introduction

WithPiotr Spyra

This section introduces readers to the concept of liminality and spells out its relevance for anthropological and folkloristic research into fairy belief. Investigating the differences and semantic overlaps between liminality and ambiguity and looking at how the former term has traditionally been employed in both folkloristic and literary scholarship, the introduction offers a revision of the critical discourse of fairy romance studies. By providing an overview of the applications of liminality in literary criticism, the section points out that the notion has been largely ignored in the studies of fairies in medieval romance despite its foundational role for defining fairies within folklore and popular culture.