marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

philosophy and Lang's Coloured Fairy Books

Is this series still a good intro to fairy tales?

It has its points, good and bad.

It obviously was not designed by theme, because it neither took the sampler approach, so that you would get a sample of the different regions or different type types in every volume, nor organized them thematically, so you would get a region or a type by book.  Either way, you need to read them all.

It was cut for children, according to, to be sure, Victorian sensibilities not ours.  That it also goes for idiomatic translation -- turning ghouls to ogres -- is, I suppose, a matter of taste; it's not to mine.

The literary fairy tales are generally a blemish, because préciosité is not a charming style. Overwrought, overladen with description of overly decorated scenes.

And there's the limits of the age, in terms of what fairy tales were available and could be translated. There's a good reason why virtually all the Asian fairy tales are from India and China.

But it does provide a broad picture of fairy tales, and includes many that were never before translated into English -- and I'm not sure they all have been subsequently.
Tags: fairy tales, lit crit

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