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Spells and Bindings (Enchanted World Series)…

Spells and Bindings (Enchanted World Series) (original 1984; edition 1985)

by Time-Life Books, Mary Staples (Designer)

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309158,263 (3.8)None
Tales of magic that include Sleeping Beauty, the Pied Piper, and Pygmalion. Part of the Enchanted World series.
Title:Spells and Bindings (Enchanted World Series)
Authors:Time-Life Books
Other authors:Mary Staples (Designer)
Info:Time Life Education (1985), Hardcover, 143 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:mythology, folklore

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Spells and Bindings (Enchanted World) by Time-Life Books (1984)



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In the mid-eighties I saw television ads for this series and brought them not so subtly to my parents’ attention, without result. They dismissed it as not worth the money. Twenty-five years later I found this volume in a garage sale and greedily snapped it up for a buck.

I anticipated a delving into the history of myths, a through-the-years overview of legends which have spells and binding as their key elements and some kind of study around how those legends were produced and evolved, noteworthy running themes, how the morals linked to their times, comparison of cultures, etc.

No effort was made along these lines. The entire volume speaks of laziness. Even the artwork, the element I was most prepared to praise, turns out to be entirely from secondary sources and nothing was commissioned. There’s a list of sources at the back, but no footnotes or endnotes refer to them. Transitions are weak and poorly marked, the layout interruptive. The overall impression is a hastily gathered body of research was collected from which a number of euro-centric stories were cited and then linked through a running narrative. The book’s narrative commentates on the dangers of the fairy world, etc., but presents no thesis and has no substantial introduction or conclusion concerning its topic.

The content isn’t entertaining enough for passing on to a youth, its most familiar stories more engagingly told in my young son’s generic fairy tales collection. Presumably every volume is similarly written. This series was a money grab, displaying only just enough effort and substance to prevent its being returned to the publisher by the truckload. ( )
1 vote Cecrow | Mar 22, 2011 |
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Who could have foretold the passion of Isolt the Fair and Tristram?
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