The Teller's Tale
Lives of the Classic Fairy Tale Writers
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Intriguing, updated portraits of classic fairy tale authors.
This book offers new, often unexpected, but always intriguing portraits of the writers of classic fairy tales. For years these authors, who wrote from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, have been either little known or known through skewed, frequently sentimentalized biographical information. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were cast as exemplars of national virtues; Hans Christian Andersen's life became—with his participation—a fairy tale in itself. Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, the prim governess who wrote moral tales for girls, had a more colorful past than her readers would have imagined, and few people knew that nineteen-year-old Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy conspired to kill her much-older husband. Important figures about whom little is known, such as Giovan Francesco Straparola and Giambattista Basile, are rendered more completely than ever before. Uncovering what was obscured for years and with newly discovered evidence, contributors to this fascinating and much-needed volume provide a historical context for Europe's fairy tales.
Sophie Raynard is Associate Professor of French at Stony Brook University, State University of New York.
"The Teller's Tale is a vital resource for those interested not only in fairy tales, but also in comparative literature, women's writing and didactic texts ... [it] will appeal to scholars at all levels and is a key text for anyone interested in the minds that brought us this compelling, even enchanting, genre." — MAKE Literary Magazine
"…intellectually stimulating … Covering primarily Italian, French, and German writers, this collection of essays is thought-provoking and informative." — Journal of American Folklore
"While an anthology with such a diverse group of writers could risk losing coherence due to competing voices and writing styles, that is not the case here, as the essays blend seamlessly. Surely Raynard's editing, translation, and adaptation skills must be praised … for now and possibly far into the future, Raynard's collection of biographies is as definitive as any reader can hope to find, a set of tales every bit as enticing as the ones these writers created." — Children's Literature Association Quarterly
"A stellar cast of international scholars, including Ruth Bottigheimer, Nancy Canepa, and Shawn Jarvis, have produced these portraits. Several of the entries were translated by the editor, who also provides a graceful introduction. A slender and very valuable contribution to fairy tales studies, this book will be useful to a broad audience … Highly recommended." — CHOICE
"…a handbook which will be of considerable use for teaching and research … this collection is welcome, not least for its international reach, which should make the fairy tale a particularly rewarding genre for students of comparative literature." — Times Literary Supplement