"fairy," OED 4a

Charles Doyle cdoyle at UGA.EDU
Wed Jan 17 17:27:37 UTC 2007

Tolkien quoted correctly the text as given in Gower's _Complete Works_, ed. G. C. Macaulay (Oxford: Clarendon, 1899-1902), 3:146. It reads "of"--not "a."


---- Original message ----
>Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2007 06:28:06 -0800
>From: Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM>
>Subject: "fairy," OED 4a
>OED offers this as its primary citation of _fairy_, a kind of elf-like supernatural being :
>  1393 J. Gower _Confessio Amantis_ II. 371 And as he were a fairie.
>  J. R. R. Tolkien challenged this as an exemplification of the sense so long ago as 1938. In his well-known essay "Tree and Leaf," Tolkien wrote,
>  "But this Gower did not say. He wrote _as he were of faerie_, 'as if he were come from Faerie.'"  Tolkien then quotes the passage at length in Middle English.
>  The online OED hasn't corrected this error, if error it be.
>  Question: Be this an error ?  Or be Tolkien in error ?
>  JL
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