I’ve been somewhat lazy with research of late. Been looking at faeries in the late 17th century with intention of examining how they relate to wild men and man- like- apes.
Concentrating on the Northern Islands of Scotland and South America I seem to be deep underwater, but the wider cosmological pattern deployed by the writers I am examining expects to find correspondence between the creatures of the sea and those of the land.
In elite thought seems to be a mix of classical tradition, European folklore, science and religion. Wither these creatures be natural or supernatural and demonic seems to be a question left to the reader.
Writers seem to deploy a range of descriptions, while the status of such things is ambiguous the presentation clearly hints that such ideas are perfectly rational to think with. The methods of natural history are deployed to demonstrate the nature of such things. They have historical depth and have been captured and observed in captivity.
Older history of science has a habit of rejecting the notion that the past could entertain relationships between human and non-human on the grounds that christian theology has a very distinct perspective on the soul.
Looking at the way 17th century writers use inflection to present a range of possible ideas and locations for thought suggests that a 17th century audience was not as systematic in terms of belief as a 20th century academic may be in describing such cultural perspectives.
Now going too look at the relationship between man like apes and dwarfs. Been a recent trend in a number of books I have been reading to flag that ‘medieval people believed in dwarfs.’
Such thoughts are trying to draw a clear distinction between an imagined past and wished for present.
Early 20th century academics also believed in dwarfs. The notion that such creatures compromised a distinct race that could be discovered within, history, anthropology archaeology mythology and folklore is a distinctive feature of ethnology in the late 19th century and early 20th century.