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Worse than Pagans

Tom Shippey: The Church v. the Fairies, 1 December 2016

Elf Queens and Holy Friars: Fairy Beliefs and the Medieval Church 
by Richard FirthGreen.
Pennsylvania, 285 pp., £36, August 2016, 978 0 8122 4843 2
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... Back then the land was ‘fulfild of fayerye’, and the elf queen danced with her company in the green meadows. But that’s all over now. The elves and fairies have been driven out by the friars, who have blanketed the country with prayers and blessings. Women can go anywhere in safety, because there is no ‘incubus’ left lurking in the bushes except for ...

Shock Cities

Susan Pedersen: The Fate of Social Democracy, 2 January 2020

Thatcher’s Progress: From Social Democracy to Market Liberalism through an English New Town 
by Guy Ortolano.
Cambridge, 301 pp., £29.99, June 2019, 978 1 108 48266 0
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Me, Me, Me? The Search for Community in Postwar England 
by Jon Lawrence.
Oxford, 327 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 0 19 877953 7
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... the new towns – Ortolano calls it ‘welfare state modernism’ (clean modernist lines, but in green, airy and usually low-rise estates) – ran into trouble: first, because the need to build fast and cheaply, at a time of serious shortages of materials, led to substitutions and the cutting of corners; second, because the style itself, as the privatisation ...

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