Review: “The Fairies Return Or, New Tales for Old,” Compiled by Peter Davies

First of all, I must ask the forgiveness of all my readers.  I have a confession to make.  I’ve been a little selfish with this book, and that’s why the review has been a bit of a long time coming.  Allow me to explain.

I received a review copy of “The Fairies Return” last month.  The book, which is (in its current edition) published by Princeton University Press, is a collection of retold fairy tales.  What sets it apart from most retellings, however, is that these stories were written and collected in 1934 in England.  Although we tend to think of fairy tale retellings as a recent phenomenon, this is a false assumption.  For as long as the oral tradition of fairy tales has existed, the stories have been changing and growing.  It only makes sense that present day writers aren’t the first to twist these stories around and view them through new, often modernized lenses.  However, it’s still rare to come upon a collection of older retellings like this one.

The uniqueness of the collection will make you want to savor it, just as I did.  With slow satisfaction, you will find yourself reading and reflecting upon each tale. This book must be devoured as might a particularly delicious meal, with the care and pace each succulent story deserves.  You will feel drawn to inspect each story closely, not only because of the tales’ fanciful nature, but also because of their fascinating historical placement and significance.  Although I regret that my slow savoring has delayed your knowledge of this wonderful little find, I am certain that any readers of this text will surely understand.

Each story–even a retelling of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”–comes across as unquestionably British.  The various writers are talented in their abilities to transform these familiar tales into stories of a very different sort.  However, even when the topics are closer to parliament and the stock market than magic, the skeletons of the original fairy tales are easily recognizable.

Although the stories themselves are diverse and offer many different tones and topics for closer inspection, perhaps the most interesting part of the collection is its ability to give readers a look at what fairy tale enthusiasts were up to almost 100 years ago.   The references and settings offer clear signs of the times in which the tales were retold, making this book a fascinating piece of history as well as a must-have for any fan of fairy tale retellings.

If your interest is piqued, then you’re in luck.  There’s a giveaway going until Oct. 26, in which entrants are eligible to win a free copy of “The Fairies Return.”  Five winners will be selected to receive this one-of-a-kind book.

For more information on “The Fairies Return,” check out this description from Princeton University Press.

Aside

Tom Bagshaw’s Disney Villainess Prints

My husband pointed me in the direction of these fantastic prints of re-imagined Disney villainesses, and I just had to share.  These pieces by artist Tom Bagshaw depict the evil fairy Maleficent of “Sleeping Beauty” and the wicked step-mother from “Snow White” respectively.  Since the Disney version didn’t include the step-mother’s name, Bagshaw has titled the piece “Lucille” in deference to Lucille La Verne who voiced the character.  Of course, as you can see for yourselves, Bagshaw paints these wicked women as both younger and sexier than their Disney counterparts.

Tom Bagshaw's "Maleficent"

Tom Bagshaw's "Lucille"

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on adding these prints to your collection, check out the Fine Grime Affordable Art Fair online store.

hitRECord’s Not So Tiny Story

I’m excited to announce that there’s a really cool fairy tale themed project going on at hitRECord.  For those of you unfamiliar with hitRECord, it’s a collaborative, artistic, online community started by avid member Joseph Gordon-Levitt a.k.a. RegularJOE, where any project posted can be remixed by any other member as long as credit is given.  The community has produced tons of incredible, original projects, and gives artists of all media (theatre, writing, graphics design, video, music, painting, etc.) all over the world a chance to work together.

Right now, the community is looking for a “classic, timeless story” that’s in the public domain that they can use for a large scale artistic collaboration.  Basically, they’re putting out a call for fairy tales.  Right now, the community is still in the submission and decision making process, so anyone can submit a story idea!  I actually have a few things that I’m considering submitting.

For a better idea of the project, check out the project page.

RegularJoe a.k.a Joseph Gordon-Levitt wants you to hitRECord!

Even if you don’t have an idea, that doesn’t mean you can’t join in the fun.  Get yourself an account and help out with the collaboration, or just keep an eye on the project.  Whatever fairy tale is chosen is sure to flourish in this artistic environment.

Steampunk Fairy Tales

Steampunk and fairy tales are two genres that really seem to mix well together.  As the steampunk subculture of cogs, goggles, and zeppelins becomes more popular, more and more artists are combining the two.  Examples of this can be seen all over the internet, but I would like to share a few of my favorites.

“Steam Piper of Hamelin” by Timothy Terrenal

 

This steampunk rendition of “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” is absolutely gorgeous and takes advantage of what steampunk does best, combining magic and clockwork/steam technology.  The children’s tiny goggles and top hats show that Terrenal has done his steampunk research and is not simply a fan of soul-sucking robots.  I admit I would love to read a Pied Piper retelling based on this amazing illustration.  To see more work by Timothy Terrenal, visit his DeviantArt gallery.

 

“Steampunk Fairytale” by ~AkaiSoul

What a fantastic version of Little Red!  I sometimes get tired of fairy tale heroines who are little more than damsels in distress; this one, however, looks like she can defend herself.  In fact, one of her hands is behind her back, so she might even be holding some kind of steampunk weapon just out of sight.  Although this style is a little less realistic than that of the Pied Piper, I love the attention to detail and the air of whimsy.  I know I said this about the last drawing, but it would be incredible to read a retelling based on this image!  More of ~AkaiSoul’s work can be viewed at her DeviantArt gallery.

“Steampunk Cinderella” by ~HelleeTitch

 

Deviant artist ~HelleeTitch does steampunk princesses in a different way; instead of focusing on fairy tales in general, she works specifically on steaming up the classic Disney girls.  Although I generally prefer my steampunk (and my fairy tales, for that matter) a little darker than this, her work is fun and lighthearted.  Plus, it’s interesting to see what she does with all the different characters.  To see her other princesses, check out her DeviantArt gallery.

As time goes on, I hope to see more crossover between these genres.  Of course, plenty already exists, as can be seen above.  There are some especially lovely renditions of Alice, from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.”  Too bad that’s not actually a fairy tale; they’re gorgeous, and I would have loved to include some!

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