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The Brown Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

The Brown Fairy Book (original 1904; edition 1965)

by Andrew Lang

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541218,550 (4.17)17
Title:The Brown Fairy Book
Authors:Andrew Lang
Info:Dover Publications, Inc (1965), Paperback, 350 pages
Collections:Your library, To read, Own

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The Brown Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (1904)

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A collection of fairy stories and folktales from all over the world.

As far as diversity goes, this is a good collection. Lang has compiled a wonderful assortment of stories from absolutely everywhere. The stories are nicely told, with good pacing and some lovely illustrations that really help capture that late 19th/early 20th century conception of the fairy tale.

However, these retellings are so colonial that I often had trouble even telling where each story was set until I reached the notations at the end. These may be world stories, but they're filtered through a decidedly British worldview. There's little to no local colour or regional feel. The translations all use the same basic voice. I found it frustrating after a while. I think my personal low came when a traditional Native American story contained a description of something that was "as fat as a Christmas turkey." It really made me wonder what else had been changed to conform to the period's conception of non-European cultures.

So this is a decent collection if you're just looking for a bit of fun, and it's a nice piece of nostalgia if you used to read the coloured Fairy Books when you were small. I wouldn't recommend approaching it as a serious cultural study, though, unless you're looking at how cultural biases affect storytelling. ( )
1 vote xicanti | Mar 6, 2008 |
This collection was a lot of fun because it didn't have any (well, maybe 1 or 2) of the "traditional" European fairy tales. Instead there are stories from Africa, Australia, North America, India, Persia, Brazil, and many other places. Some of the stories seem strange compared to the fairy tales I grew up with, but the diversity makes The Brown Fairy Book one of Lang's best compilations (especially when accompanied by Ford's beautiful illustrations). ( )
  makaiju | Dec 17, 2007 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Andrew Langprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ford, H. J.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gillon, EdmundCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lurie, AlisonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Phillips, AdamIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rayyan, OmarIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Once upon a time a great king of the East, named Saman-lalposh, had three brave and clever sons---Tahmasp, Qamas, and Almas-ruh-baksh.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Available online at The Hathi Trust:

Also available at The Internet Archive:

Also available at Project Gutenberg:
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486214389, Paperback)

32 less familiar folk tales from the American Indians, Australian Bushmen, African Kaffirs, and from Persia, Lapland, Brazil, and India. Different enough to capture all imaginations. 50 illustrations.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:15 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A collection of thirty-two folk tales from Persia, Australia, Brazil, India and New Caledonia.

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