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[[File:Cicely-mary-barker-other-miscellaneous-works-elves-and-fairies-postcards-a-joy-ride.jpg|thumb|324px|Little elves]]An '''elf''' (plural elves) is a being from Germanic mythology. The elves were originally thought of as a race of divine beings endowed with magical powers, which they use for both the benefit and injury of mankind. In medieval Norse mythology, they appear to have been divided into light elves and dark elves, difficult to delineate from the gods on one hand and the dwarves on the other.
 
[[File:Cicely-mary-barker-other-miscellaneous-works-elves-and-fairies-postcards-a-joy-ride.jpg|thumb|324px|Little elves]]An '''elf''' (plural elves) is a being from Germanic mythology. The elves were originally thought of as a race of divine beings endowed with magical powers, which they use for both the benefit and injury of mankind. In medieval Norse mythology, they appear to have been divided into light elves and dark elves, difficult to delineate from the gods on one hand and the dwarves on the other.
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In early and mordern folklore, they became associated with the [[Fairies|fairies]] of Romance folklore and assume a diminutive size, often living mainly in forests but also underground in hills or rocks, or in wells and springs. 19th-century Romanticism attempted to restore them to full stature making them men and women of great beauty. They were often depicted as very young, probably adolescents as male elves lack of facial hair.
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From thair depiction in Romanticism, elves entered the 20th-century high fantasy genre in the wake of the published work of J. R. R. Tolkien (especially the posthumous publication of his ''Silmarillion'' where Tolkien's treatment of the relation of light elves, dark elves and dwarves is made explict).
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The "Christmas elves" of contemporary pop culture were popularized during the 1870's in the United States, in publications such as ''Godey's Lady's Book''.
 
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[[Category:Mythological creatures]]

Revision as of 14:04, July 22, 2011

Cicely-mary-barker-other-miscellaneous-works-elves-and-fairies-postcards-a-joy-ride

Little elves

An elf (plural elves) is a being from Germanic mythology. The elves were originally thought of as a race of divine beings endowed with magical powers, which they use for both the benefit and injury of mankind. In medieval Norse mythology, they appear to have been divided into light elves and dark elves, difficult to delineate from the gods on one hand and the dwarves on the other.

In early and mordern folklore, they became associated with the fairies of Romance folklore and assume a diminutive size, often living mainly in forests but also underground in hills or rocks, or in wells and springs. 19th-century Romanticism attempted to restore them to full stature making them men and women of great beauty. They were often depicted as very young, probably adolescents as male elves lack of facial hair.

From thair depiction in Romanticism, elves entered the 20th-century high fantasy genre in the wake of the published work of J. R. R. Tolkien (especially the posthumous publication of his Silmarillion where Tolkien's treatment of the relation of light elves, dark elves and dwarves is made explict).

The "Christmas elves" of contemporary pop culture were popularized during the 1870's in the United States, in publications such as Godey's Lady's Book.

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