I have locked myself away over Christmas, taking advantage of the generous university holidays, to wade through piles of notes. As I am currently investigating why the Cottingley Fairies were ‘ignored’ by the Folklore Society up until the 1970s, the reason has to be sought in much ‘reading around’ and ‘reading between the lines’. This has provided me with a fascinating year, but of course left me with a pile of unnecessary Cottingley ‘ephemera’. I have spent the last two weeks sorting the wheat from the chaff and have found some excellent nuggets of information which help my question. It is now my task to take 40,000 words of quotes and notes and bash them into the first full chapter of my thesis. This will be my task of the first few months of 2013!!!
As for the chaff, I have found some material which I hope may be used for some interesting conference papers next year. The backdrop of intersecting meanings overlaid upon the Cottingley case, including the reception of Arthur Conan Doyle’s spiritualism and how Doyle’s public image as Sherlock Holmes’ creator provide fascinating insight into post WW1 social life and media. They also show the strong connections between the Spiritualist and Theosophical groups and their often fraught relationship with the popular press during the 1920s.