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Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures: The Ultimate A-Z of Fantastic Beings from Myth and Magic (Englisch) Gebundene Ausgabe – 5. Dezember 2005


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Synopsis

Third in the hugely popular series of Element Encyclopedias, this is the most comprehensive guide you'll ever find to every magical creature from myth, folklore and legend around the world. This compendium of magical creatures explores the history, folklore and mythology of these facinating beasts throughout all magical worlds. Including stories, celebrations, traditions, and amazing facts about the creatures, this book spans every major culture across the globe. Many of the creatures described in the book have appeared in the fictitious worlds of the brothers Grimm, Lewis Caroll, J.K. Rowling, Tolkien and countless other writers who have stirred our imaginations since childhood fairytales. From unicorns, giants, fairies, elves, goblins, dwarves and trolls to nymphs, mermaids, sphinxes, ogres, cyclops, dragons, mermaids, salamanders, basilisks, banshees, werewolves, griffins, centaurs, satyrs and gremlins - this is the ultimate reference book on creatures from the magical world. But have you ever heard of Cherufes, Lampaluguas or the Quetzal? The cross-cultural focus spans from the most ancient of creatures to those which have come to prominence relatively recently.

Every obscure and mythological creature is described in detail in this fantastic book, including gods from many cultures and everyday animals that carry magical symbolism. The information not only refers each creature to the mythology surrounding it, but also illustrates how many of these magical beasts relate to each other and are interconnected across mythical worlds. Find out more in The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

John and Caitlin Matthews are two of the most well-respected experts in the area of mythology and legend. Best known for their work surrounding Celtic and Arthurian traditions, they also have a tremendously broad base of knowledge of cultures worldwide from which they have drawn on for this amazing work. Their previous books include The Encyclopedia of Celtic Myth and Legend, Walkers Between the Worlds and The Aquarian Guide to British and Irish Mythology and Hallowquest: The Arthurian Tarot Course.

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Amazon.com: 36 Rezensionen
64 von 72 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Some Interesting Information--But Has Research Gaps and Innacuracies 18. Juli 2006
Von Janet Boyer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
"This book is a zoology of the imagination more than it is a natural history. It follows the myths of magical creatures wherever they show themselves, myths that are primal stories encoding understandings that we grasp by means of metaphor rather than with any literal-mindedness. Where will these creatures lead us?"

The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures is a 682-page, flexibound compendium of fantastic beings from myth, magic, and urban legend. (Flexibound is somewhat between a hardcover and a paperback). Arranged alphabetically for easy reference, hundreds of entries are culled from literature, sacred texts, history, legends, cryptozoology, and movies. Mythical stories pertaining to animals, fowl, and insects are also provided. Entertaining and informative, this book sparks both imagination and curiosity. Indeed, it's hard to read "just one" entry in this unique book.

Some of the fantastical beasts, monsters, and demigods listed in this book include:

* Bunyip

* Lorelei

* Puck

* Sasquatch

* Chupacabras

* Thoth

* Quetzalcoatl

* Elves

* Bastet

* Leviathan

* Dryads

* Lilith

* Ouroboros

* Mothman

* Fire Drake

* Golem

* Banshee

* Satyr

* Basilisk

* Thunderbird

* Scapegoat

While many entries are familiar, I found the majority obscure--having never heard of them. I was intrigued to find that Dobby, the house elf from the Harry Potter books, is actually a genus of British house fairies--known mostly in the north of England. Supposedly, the Dobby/Dobie makes ridiculous mistakes or is easily confused. When I read the entry for the Brownie (pronounced "broony"), I was surprised to read that the sure way to get rid of a brownie is to give him a piece of clothing--just like the house elves in the J.K. Rowling series. (Unfortunately, the authors didn't cross-reference Dobby to Brownie for some reason, so I stumbled upon the entry quite by accident. Or, due to obscene curiosity, I suppose).

At times, the authors speak at length about Potter references in relevant entries. However, the entry for the Stag fails to mention Harry Potter's Patronus, which is a luminous white stag that Harry conjures in his times of need.

Some of the research seems sketchy at best and inaccurate at worst. For example, under the Mothman entry, there's a mention of the movie The Mothman Prophecies. The entry states "starring Kevin Costner", but Costner isn't in the film. The star of the movie is actually Richard Gere. I have to wonder: if the authors include a mistake like this--on a fact that is easily researchable--how accurate is the other information in this book?

One of the first entries I looked up was "tulpas", a concept that fascinates me. Unfortunately, there is no mention or entry for this phenomenon. Yet, there was information on the Golem, which is similar--but of Jewish/Kabbalistic origin.

While the authors explained that Fawkes is a pet Phoenix of Dumbledore in the Potter series, they fail to mention a more common mythological connection: the Phoenix is connected to the sign of Scorpio, and is considered a higher expression of this Zodiacal sign. Another "miss" was the entry on Salamanders. There is no mention that this creature is a spirit connected with the fire element in magical Hermeticism and some Pagan traditions. (Not to mention that the Salamander is a somewhat common theme among the fire suits in Tarot, most notably the Wands.) So I looked up Gnome (associated with the earth element), and *did* find a brief mention of salamander, gnome, undine, and sylph in terms of hermetic practice and Paracelsusian philosophy. Thus, the cross references in this book seems to be shoddy.

While some of the information in The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures is downright fascinating, I was a bit disappointed to see what I considered glaring gaps in the research, not to mention inaccuracies. I didn't go looking for these, but discovered them early in my explorations of this book as I followed my interests and curiosity. That, and the fact that many of the entries were entirely unfamiliar to me, makes this a so-so book for me.

Granted, it's an overwhelming undertaking cataloguing hundreds of fantastical creatures from a myriad of sources--so kudos certainly go to the authors for doing a decent job as far as breadth goes. Moreover, I suppose I can't be *too* hard on the book, considering that it's an encyclopedia--not necessarily and exhaustive reference. Perhaps I am spoiled by Judika Illes' breadth *and* depth in The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft (not to mention her book on 5,000 spells).

If you're curious about the likes of mermen and griffins, sirens and orcs, The Element Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures will probably delight you. I can see this book being especially good reference for sci-fi and fantasy writers. However, if you want comprehensive information on several creatures, you may be better off getting a book that is devoted specifically to such a subject. (Note: after only an hour or so of reading this book, the pages began to pull away from the glue binding. Unfortunately, the flexibound cover/binding isn't as sturdy as the two previous hardback installments of the Element Encyclopedia series. Thus, it's not a good idea to read the book flat--but this hefty volume makes it almost impossible to read any other way without experiencing discomfort.)
17 von 18 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Worth Every Penny! 9. Januar 2009
Von Gypsy November - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I give this vibrant and fascinating tome five stars simply because I can't give it more. I was hesitant to buy it because of the relatively low rating on Amazon...but I am so glad now that I went with my instincts. I can't understand how it came by such a poor rating, but I assure you that this book doesn't deserve anything less then a five. I am a fantasy writer and this is an invaluable resource, besides that, I love fantasy and the imagination in their own right...and this book gives wonderful homage to the magical beings all around us.

Have you ever heard of a Haikur (a water horse)? How about the Dev (a race of giants with seven heads)? Did you know that the Valkyrie are female spirits that carry away the souls of those killed in battle? This is just the tiniest taste of all you will read about in this wonderful Encyclopedia. Not only does this book cover the obscure, but it details well-known creatures, such as Centaurs, Vampires, Elves, and Werewolves. It even explains how animals we know well are magical in their own right (ants are believed holy in many cultures, such as China, where it is considered righteous and prized for its orderliness and patriotism).

I really am fascinated by this tome, and thoroughly believe it belongs on the shelf of anyone who is interested in the things we have to believe in to see.

I will say that this book does not have many illustrations (and the ones it does have are really just sketches). I did not take away in the rating for that because, first of all, the description of the book never said anything about pictures and secondly because most of these creatures, I think, are best seen by the minds eye...where they will never disappoint because they will look exactly as you think they should. Also, I wouldn't recommend this book for children...it's written for teens and adults.

If you get this book with the understanding that everyone has their own set of beliefs, that it is (literally) impossible to set all those beliefs down on paper (this is not an exhaustive work because of the nature of the subject, not because of author fault), and that this book is just a wonderful starting ground for the imagination and it is up to you to take it as far as you want, you will love this tome.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Great information, but would prefer better organization 29. Dezember 2011
Von Lizzy - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This book is a good reference for the writer, cryptozoologist, and interested laymen alike.

One of the best points is that it includes not only legendary and mythical creatures, but also references the mythical qualities assigned to well-known animals by various cultures. There are also short sections discussing various themes among mythical creatures such as Apocalyptic Beasts or Shapeshifters.

There are some areas where this book is very thorough (there is a separate entry for each of the four horses of the sun in Greek mythology), but there are also some omissions that seem almost arbitrary (there is an entry for Oberon but not Titania). I would have appreciated more cross-referencing. For example, the Midgard Serpent is given the alternate name of "World Serpent" even in its entry in this book, but there is no entry under "World Serpent," not even to direct the researcher back to Midgard Serpent. Another example is a later form of the Basilisk which takes on the head and legs of a cockerel and is often known as the Cockatrice in medieval legend (the Cockatrice entry mentions the Basilisk root, but the Basilisk entry fails to direct the researcher to the Cockatrice). In many cases if you don't know what name they have chosen to file the creature under you will find yourself completely stuck.

My main criticism for this book is that there is no index whatsoever. I would have expected, at the absolute minimum, some sort of index that would allow the researcher to look up creatures by region or mythology, and an index or at least a few lists of very closely related creatures. (For example there are several supernatural creatures which fall under the blanket description of "Black Dog" (Padfoot, Mauthe Dhoog, Skriker, etc.) but no way to find them all save reading through the whole book.)

On the whole this book contains an impressive collection of information which makes it a reasonable starting point for researching mythical creatures. I will caution that many entries are woefully short and this is NOT a complete guide. Once you have discovered a creature you are interested in you will need to look to other sources if you want to truly understand that creature.

In spite of the lack of index making this book considerably less useful or user-friendly than it should be, I will be keeping my copy for future reference.
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
It is what it is... 14. Mai 2007
Von Shawn MacKenzie - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
a comprehensive research volume. Personally, I have found it extremely valuable in my work, and will even pick it up on occasion for an aimless perusal. It does cry out for a few illustration, though I am sure many of the creatures in the book are loath to have their likenesses set down.
Not for the very young, but a must for the serious cryptozoologist.

If you like this book I recommend The Dragon Keeper's Handbook (Llewellyn Worldwide, Spet. 2011)
24 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
wheres the pictures?????? 2. August 2006
Von Greg A. Pate - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
I bought this book to read and look at with my [...] son who is in love with dragons and creatures one look at the cover and we were excited to get it here however one would think an ENCYCLOPEDIA would have a picture or two not one damn picture in the whole book!!!! Yes it is an indepth read for an older person who still enjoys the magical world and i will be devouring this book by myself it was just disappointing we had great expectations of fantastical artwork and information to go with it.
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