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Fairy Tales for the Disillusioned: Enchanted…

Fairy Tales for the Disillusioned: Enchanted Stories from the French…

by Gretchen Schultz (Editor), Lewis Seifert (Editor)

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A collection of fairy tales written during the Third Republic (1870-1940) in the Decadent tradition, essentially a reaction movement to the social changes at the end of the nineteenth century and the larger trends of modernization. However, whether you're reading the tales for their historical value in context or just picking them up as a lover of fairy tales, these are a fascinating bunch. Whether it's a version of Red Riding Hood where she tricks the wolf into eating her grandmother so that he'll have to face the police, a recounting of Bluebeard that paints him as a really decent guy who was the victim of his last wife's falsehoods, or a version of Cinderella where the prince has an intense shoe fetish there are plenty of fascinating twists on familiar tales. As a former English major, I did wish there had been more annotations on each of the individual stories in addition to the general introduction. If you're just interested in exploring fairy tale retellings, this is an excellent collection to explore. ( )
  MickyFine | Feb 28, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Schultz, GretchenEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Seifert, LewisEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0691161658, Hardcover)

The wolf is tricked by Red Riding Hood into strangling her grandmother and is subsequently arrested. Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella do not live happily ever after. And the fairies are saucy, angry, and capricious. Fairy Tales for the Disillusioned collects thirty-six tales, many newly translated, by writers associated with the decadent literary movement, which flourished in France in the late nineteenth century. Written by such creative luminaries as Charles Baudelaire, Anatole France, and Guillaume Apollinaire, these enchanting yet troubling stories reflect the concerns and fascinations of a time of great political, social, and cultural change. Recasting well-known favorites from classic French fairy tales, as well as Arthurian legends and English and German tales, the updated interpretations in this collection allow for more perverse settings and disillusioned perspectives--a trademark style and ethos of the decadent tradition.

In these stories, characters puncture the optimism of the naive, talismans don't work, and the most deserving don't always get the best rewards. The fairies are commonly victims of modern cynicism and technological advancement, but just as often are dangerous creatures corrupted by contemporary society. The collection underlines such decadent themes as the decline of civilization, the degeneration of magic and the unreal, gender confusion, and the incursion of the industrial. The volume editors provide an informative introduction, biographical notes for each author, and explanatory notes throughout.

Subverting the conventions of the traditional fairy tale, these old tales made new will entertain and startle even the most disenchanted readers.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 02 Nov 2016 15:18:58 -0400)

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