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The Brown Fairy Book (1904)

by Andrew Lang

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Andrew Lang's Fairy Books (16)

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703224,738 (4.12)20
Thirty-two fairy tales from the folklore of Africa, Australia, Brazil, India, New Caledonia, and Persia.

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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. ( )
3 vote xicanti | Mar 6, 2008 |
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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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Thirty-two fairy tales from the folklore of Africa, Australia, Brazil, India, New Caledonia, and Persia.

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