Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time : A Short History of Fairy Tale

3.68 (597 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.

Marina Warner has loved fairy tales over a long writing life, and she explores here a multitude of tales through the ages, their different manifestations on the page, the stage, and the screen. From the phenomenal rise of Victorian and Edwardian literature to contemporary children's stories, Warner unfolds 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 and gothic interpretations such as Pan's Labyrinth.

In ten succinct chapters, Marina Warner digs into a rich hoard of fairy tales in their brilliant and fantastical variations, in order to define a genre and evaluate a literary form that keeps shifting through time and history. Her book makes a persuasive case for fairy tale as a crucial repository of human understanding and culture.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 122 x 171 x 11mm | 224g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 16 black and white images
  • 0198779852
  • 9780198779858
  • 68,184

Table of contents

1: The Worlds of Faery: Far Away and Down Below
2: With a Stroke of Her Wand: Magic and Metamorphosis
3: Voices on the Page: Tales, Tellers, and Translators
4: Potato Soup: True Stories/Real Life
5: Childish Things: Pictures and 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
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Review Text

dynamic history Guardian
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Review quote

slim but highly readable volume * Shropshire Star * 10 concise, gripping chapters - the one on Magic and Metamorphosis is particularly fascinating. * The Lady * dynamic history * Guardian *
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About Marina Warner

Marina Warner's award-winning studies of mythology and fairy tales include Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (1976; re-issued 2013), Stranger Magic: Charmed States & the Arabian Nights (2012), From the Beast to the Blonde - on Fairy Tales and their Tellers (1994), Monuments & Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form (1985), and No Go the Bogeyman: Scaring, Lulling and Making Mock
(1998). Her Clarendon Lectures Fantastic Metamorphoses; Other Worlds were published in 2001. 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.
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Rating details

597 ratings
3.68 out of 5 stars
5 22% (130)
4 38% (229)
3 29% (171)
2 9% (51)
1 3% (16)
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