Once upon a time, an unidentified someone declared February 26th National Tell A Fairy Tale Day. We can only assume that person lived happily ever after. If you plan to revel in today’s fantastical holiday and tell your favorite tale, be aware of the plot twisting spell recently cast on this literary genre by academic sorceresses Christine Jones and Jennifer Schacker. These Women You Should Know have conjured up a fresh perspective on the centuries old fairy tales we loved and learned as children, giving us new cause for wonderment.
In their just released anthology – Marvelous Transformations – Christine and Jennifer, the new generation of scholars studying this historic genre, take readers on an adventurous journey through international fairy tale history.
With contributions from 15 colleagues accompanying their own work, Jones and Schacker have assembled an impressive collection of new, thought provoking and revealing translations of some of the best-known tales (many French and Italian classics) and stories most have never encountered.
What if it was Sleeping Beauty who made eyes at a dumbstruck prince too mesmerized to kiss her? What if Cinderella lied her way to the ball? What if Little Red Riding Hood was a well-bred young lady and not the naïve little girl we read her to be?
Hundreds of years of translation and mash ups of versions of fairy tales with similar plots, such as those by Walt Disney, have created an image of characters like Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella in present day America that bears little resemblance to the heroines, and heroes, that writers like Charles Perrault and the Grimms first put to paper as early as 300 year ago.
But all has not been lost as Jones and Schacker have emerged as modern day fairy godmothers to the tales they study. With a wave of their scholarly wands across the pages of this book, they magically guide readers through the marvelous transformations these historic works of literature can take in the context of a fresh perspective.
The moral of this post is… there is so much more to these tales originally written for the entertainment not of children, but of worldly, witty adults. You’ll just have to read Marvelous Transformations to find out what you’ve been missing all these years.
About The Editors:
Christine A. Jones is Associate Professor of French at the University of Utah. She is the author of Shapely Bodies: The Image of Porcelain in Eighteenth-Century France (University of Delaware Press, 2012) and is currently completing annotated translations of Charles Perrault’s fairy tales.
Jennifer Schacker is Associate Professor in the School of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Guelph. She is the author of National Dreams: The Remaking of Fairy Tales in Nineteenth-Century England (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003), winner of the 2006 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award.