Category Archives: Uncategorized

Q is for Queens

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“Ah, we shall soon see that!” said the queen mother, however, she said not a word of what she was going to do . . .  Illustration for “The Princess and the Pea,” by Edward Dulac from the Snow Queen and Other Stories from Hans Christian Andersen, 1911.

“Ah, we shall soon see that!” said the queen mother, however, she said not a word of what she was going to do . . .” Illustration for “The Princess and the Pea,” by Edward Dulac from the Snow Queen and Other Stories from Hans Christian Andersen, 1911.

 

 

Metaphorically speaking–and fairy tales are metaphorical, so let’s do!–Queens are women in midlife.

They have aging issues as they watch their beautiful daughters blossom.

They have princely sons to marry off to a worthy bride—by hook or crook.

They have husbands with midlife crises whom they must nurture or manipulate back into a healthier relationship.

And, suddenly, they have stepdaughters more charming and lovable than their own snooty brats!

So, they behave just like living, breathing human women do in our 40s and 50s.

No snickering, gentlemen! At least not until you’ve read about fairy tale kings!

Have you shelved these queens?

Brothers Grimm, Snow White, illustrated by Camille Rose Garcia. Harper Design, 2012.

“Clever Manka” and “The Lute Player” may be found in . . .
Phelps, Ethel Johnston, Tatterhood and Other Tales. The Feminist Press at CUNY, 1993.

The Princess and the Pea retold by Xanthe Gresham, illustrated by Miss Clara. Barefoot Books, 2013.

3Swans_CDSleeve_v4

 

 

 

“The Lute Player” is also on my CD Ghostly Gals and Spirited Women. If your Texas library does not have a copy, let me know and I’ll see that they get one.

 

P is for Pushkin

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This tiny lacquer box from Mstera (2″ wide) illustrates The Tale of the Dead Princess, or The Princess and the Seven Bogatyrs. Unlike Pushkin’s other tales, it was not previously a Russian classic, but rather the Grimm’s Snow White retold by a consummate writer. Now, Russians claim it as their own!

 

 

 

Like Browning or Spenser, Longfellow or Poe, Russian poet Alexander Pushkin created a body of narrative poetry. He drew from the Russian Wonder Tales, setting them in the more “academically respectable” form of poetry and paving the way for the high art of opera by Rimsky-Korsakov and others. Look for Tsar Saltan, The Golden Cockerel, Ruslan and Ludmilla, Tale of the Dead Princess, Fisherman and the Golden Fish . . .

I often introduce Russian folktales with imagery from Pushkin’s evocative Prologue to Ruslan and Ludmilla, spoken in prose: “By the shores of a bay, there is a green oak tree . . .

Not to be pushy, but here are some Pushkin books you might like:

Lowenfeld, Julian Henry, author and translator, My Talisman: The Poetry and Life of Alexander Pushkin (English and Russian Edition). Green Lamp Press, 2010.

Pushkin, A.  S., Pushkin’s Fairy Tales. P-2, 2007.

Pushkin, Alexander Sergeyevitch Pushkin, Collected Narrative and Lyrical Poetry, translated by Walter Arndt. Overlook TP, 2009

G is for Godfather/Godmother Death

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Godfather Death, unsigned illustration from the Grimm’s Children’s and Household Tales.

How might a tale evolve over time and travels? In Grimm’s 1812 collection, Godfather Death trains his ward to be a healer and gives him an herb that will save lives. But, he warns, the young man must follow Death’s guidance on when not to save a life, namely, when Death himself is standing at the foot of the bed. When those he loves become ill, the healer turns the bed around and saves them–though not without consequences! This tale migrated to America, and by the time Dobie recorded it for a 1935 collection, Death had become “Godmother Death.”

Do you have these collections in your 398.2 section?

Grimm, a complete collection, any edition.

Dobie, J. Frank, Tongues of the Monte. Doubleday, Doran & Company, 1935. (Or the 1980 UT Press reprint. If you have the original, it’s worth a lot!)

Dobie, J. Frank, I’ll Tell You a Tale. UTPress, 1981. (Created from his other collections, this anthology includes “Godfather Death.”)

 

Look me up at the Texas Library Association Conference this week. I’m in booth 2511.