The woman whose face appears on the Czech five-hundred koruna doesn’t appear there without consequence. During the late 19th century, politically active Božena Němcová was an innovator of Czech literature. Twenty-first century writer Kelcey Parker Ervick continues Němcová’s legacy in her own fairy tale-like work: a biographical collage, The Bitter Life of Božena Němcová....more
Posts Tagged: fairy tales
Fairytales can be seen as formulaic, but these formulas provide the bones for modern writers to fill in as they please; adaptations of classic fairytales are still making bestseller lists and hitting the box office every few months, showing how versatile these classic tales can be, as Lincoln Michel points out over at the Guardian....more
What’s a witch? Green skin, warts, and broomsticks? A hag bent over a foul, steaming cauldron? A cold-blooded queen in a wardrobe? One thing’s for certain: witches are feared and powerful. And they’re women. Maybe being a witch isn’t so bad after all....more
However unbelievable they seem, Nathan Fielder’s doomed interactions with small business owners on Nathan For You are all too painfully real. But in an economic landscape as cockamamy as today’s, they might as well be the work of fantasy:
Conditions are desperate enough, both Nathan and Tales suggest, to make money from poop.
On Tuesday, Michael Cunningham’s collection of reimagined fairy tales, A Wild Swan, burst from a magic pumpkin and into the world. (Just kidding on the pumpkin part.) Cunningham is no stranger to short stories (see, notably, “White Angel”), but this marks the first time he’s released a collection in his thirty-year career, and the stories within are not quite like any we’ve seen from him before....more
There’s the crown-letted frog who can’t seem to truly love any of the women willing to kiss him, and break the spell. There’s the prince who’s spent years trying to determine the location of the comatose princess he’s meant to revive with a kiss, and has lately been less devoted to searching mountain and glen, more prone to bar-crawling, given to long stories about the girl who got away.
Fables and fairy tales and folk tales can compel us on their own, but they’re also ripe for reinvention. Some authors may take the skeleton of a centuries-old story and use it as the basis for something new; others may borrow the language or structure in order to apply them to something else entirely.
This is the week of fantastical fiction, of the weird and the magical, of re-imagining fairy tales and urban legends, of making the familiar strange and the strange familiar. On Tuesday, a new edition of Angela Carter’s seminal 1979 story collection The Bloody Chamber was released to mark what would have been Carter’s 75th birthday, had she not passed in 1992....more
Folk tales are a shared genealogy. To read them is to recognize where one story descends from another, to learn the preoccupations of the storytellers and their communities, to make note of universal tales whose concerns are eternal, and to see where trade across borders has shared as many ideas as miles of road.
Fairy tales are a fundamental part of the human experience, an extension of the oral traditions of the earliest storytellers, and part of culture that becomes internalized. In part, the importance of fairy tales is their ability to change with the needs of the society that retells them....more
(n.); the moral appended to the end a story or fable; from the Greek epi (“upon”) + muthos (“story, fable”)
“Once upon a time there was a princess who went out into the forest and sat down at the edge of a cool well.
Think of the most complicated and intriguing people you have ever met. Think of the way it feels to return to those people again and again, each time finding some new facet of truth, beauty, insight, originality. Michael Cunningham’s “White Angel” is a story like one of those people....more
Desire is transformative, and transgressive: whether it’s an unpeeled onion or a noble lover, to want something, especially for women, can never be entirely benign. A common consequence for careless appetite in fairy tales is monstrous birth– a child that is less, and more, than the mother bargained for.
The New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium is a weekly forum for discussing the tradition and future of text/image work. Open to the public, it meets Monday nights at 7-9 p.m. EST in New York City....more
In both darker and lighter versions of fairy tales, a woman’s suffering is demanded in exchange for true love and happily ever after. She must be trapped in a tower or poisoned by an apple or forced to spin straw into gold.
Once upon a time, folktales contained sex and violence. But as the stories were collected by cultural anthropologists, they were gradually stripped of this adult content in order to make them suitable for children. Moreover, these neutered children’s stories often make no mention of their translator, or even that they’ve been translated, writes M....more
British art giant David Hockney is best known for pop-art paintings like A Bigger Splash, but he has also worked in many other mediums—including, it seems, illustrations for children’s books.
Over at Brain Pickings, Maria Popova highlights a recently reissued collection of fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm with striking, discomfiting drawings by Hockney....more
We haven’t stopped creating fairy tales and folklore—we just do it online now.
For Aeon magazine, Will Wiles has a splendid longread about “creepypasta,” the phenomenon of writing and disseminating scary stories on the Internet.
Their subject matter—horrific lost episodes of TV shows, malicious computer code that causes seizures—reveal how the loci of our anxieties have shifted to more technological horrors....more
In the 1920s, while living in Paris, poet E. E. Cummings wrote fairy tales for his only little daughter Nancy, which was an unknown fact until 1965.
Only four survived and published in a small booklet accompanied by drawing by Canadian artist John Eaton....more