Fairy Tale: A Very Short Introduction

Fairy Tale: A Very Short Introduction

3.47 (23 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?


From wicked queens, beautiful princesses, elves, monsters, and goblins, to giants, glass slippers, poisoned apples, magic keys, and mirrors, the characters and images of fairy tales have cast a spell over readers and audiences, both adults and children, for centuries. These fantastic stories have travelled across cultural borders, and been passed on from generation to generation, ever-changing, renewed with each re-telling. Few forms of literature have greater power
to enchant us and rekindle our imagination than a fairy tale.

But what is a fairy tale? Where do they come from and what do they mean? What do they try and communicate to us about morality, sexuality, and society? The range of fairy tales stretches across great distances and time; their history is entangled with folklore and myth, and their inspiration draws on ideas about nature and the supernatural, imagination and fantasy, psychoanalysis, and feminism. In this Very Short Introduction, Marina Warner digs into a rich hoard of fairy tales in all
their brilliant and fantastical variations, in order to define a genre and evaluate a literary form that keeps shifting through time and history. Drawing on a glittering array of examples, from classics such as Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and The Sleeping Beauty, the Grimm Brothers' Hansel and Gretel, and
Hans Andersen's The Little Mermaid, to modern-day realizations including Walt Disney's Snow White, Warner forms a persuasive case for fairy tale as a crucial repository of human understanding and culture.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 192 pages
  • 112 x 174 x 12mm | 146g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 12 black and white illustrations
  • 019953215X
  • 9780199532155
  • 84,484

Table of contents

Prologue 1: The worlds of Faery: far away and down below 2: With a touch of her wand: magic & metamorphosis 3: Voices on the page: tales, tellers, & translators 4: Potato soup: true stories/real life 5: Childish things: pictures & conversations 6: On the couch: house-training the Id 7: In the dock: don't bet on the Prince 8: Double vision: the dream of reason 9: On stage and screen: states of illusion Epilogue Further reading Index
show more

Review Text

Review from previous edition the book is an enchanted material object, and reading a journey toward knowledge and wisdom. Gramayre
show more

Review quote

her light touch effortlessly imparts knowledge in your mind. A beautifully produced book, this will be a joy to anyone who loves stories. * Patrick Neale, The Bookseller * Marina Warner is our doyenne of fairy stories ... her scholarly knowledge is not just worn lightly but presented with a flourish * Amanda Craig, Observer * a spellbinding cultural tour de force * The Lady * An expert and intruiging guide to the roots and triffid-like growth of a significant genre * The Tablet * For such a small book it carries a heavy load, but Ms Warner's insights are both surprising and rewarding. * The Economist * Marina Warner's new book distills her work on the literary, cultural, psychological and social influence of fairy tales, old and new, into an elegant little volume. From fantasy to feminism - it is all here. * Wall Street Journal * Warner is always intelligent, writes with great elegance and bubbles over with new ideas and impressions. Many will enjoy her style, wide range of literary reference and infectious enthusiasm. * Irish Times * Marina Warner's newest book is as pocket-sized and potent as one might expect a short history of fairy tales to be...she manages to be astute without being intrusive...there is sharpness too. * Shahidha Bari, Times Higher Education * This is a book to treasure. * Helen Parry, Shiny New Books * wise, witty, elegant, little book * Amanda Craig, Mslexia * wide ranging and handsomely produced * Rowan Williams, New Statesman * ...this is a book to treasure. It really is the perfect introduction to the subject. * Desperate Reader, Hayley Anderton * elegantly concise * Literary Review * thoroughly enjoyable and scholarly account * Times Literary Supplement * Review from previous edition the book is an enchanted material object, and reading a journey toward knowledge and wisdom. * Gramayre *
show more

About Marina Warner

Marina Warner's award-winning studies of mythology and fairy tales include Once Upon a Time (OUP, 2014) Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (OUP, 1976; re-issued 2013), Stranger Magic: Charmed States & the Arabian Nights (Vintage, 2012), and No Go the Bogeyman: Scaring, Lulling and Making Mock (Vintage, 1998). Her Clarendon Lectures Fantastic Metamorphoses; Other Worlds were published
in 2001 by OUP; her essays on literature and culture were collected in Signs & Wonders (Vintage, 2000), and Phantasmagoria, a study of spirits and technology, appeared in 2006 (OUP). In 2015 she was awarded the Holberg Prize, and in 2013 she was awarded a Sheykh Zayed Prize and the Truman Capote Award. She was awarded a CBE for services to
Literature in 2008. She is a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, an Honorary Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the British Academy.
show more

Rating details

23 ratings
3.47 out of 5 stars
5 4% (1)
4 52% (12)
3 30% (7)
2 13% (3)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X