Hobberdy Dick

K. M. Briggs
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ISBN 9780571252060 Format Paperback
Published 12/06/2009 Length 208 pages

About Book

First published in 1955, Katherine Briggs' story about the hobgoblin whose charge it is to protect and influence the unloving Puritan family who come to live at Widford Manor after the Civil War is a classic of English children's writing.

Hobberdy Dick's benign works in favour of the characters carry the story from sadness to delight; but it is his character as ancient guardian that holds the reader. For the true conclusion is that sanctioned by fairy lore: the offer of mortal cloth for Dick to wear which will bring him eternal release from servitude.

All these strands are intertwined with wonderful ease. Katharine Briggs's absorption in 'the personnel of fairyland' confers a naturalness to the supernatural goings-on, while the precise attention she gives to its setting reinforces this. Much of her youth had been spent in Scotland, but in 1939 she had bought a house in Burford and her love of the Cotswolds, with their green roads, their barrows, and their standing stones bring accuracy and, above all, warmth to her portrayal of both landscape and people.

  • About K. M. Briggs

    Katherine Mary Briggs was born in north London in 1898, the eldest of three daughters. She was educated at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, obtaining her MA in 1926. In the years that followed she wrote and produced many plays, alongside studying towards her PhD which she completed with a thesis in folklore in seventeenth century literature. Briggs went on to write various books on fairies and folklore, including the definitive four-volume Dictionary of British Folk-Tales. Her children's books include Hobberdy Dick and Kate Crackernuts. She was awarded the Doctorate in Literature in 1969 and spent the latter part of her life working for the Folklore Society, which named an award in her honor. Briggs died in 1980.

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