Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tam Lin and Beauty and the Beast

If you follow Surlalune, which you really should if you are interested in fairy tales-this is only my hobby, but it's her career-she'll give regular links to Fairy Tale Reflections at Seven Miles of Steel Thistles. I read most of them over myself, but only link the ones to here that have to do with Beauty and the Beast.

Gillian Phillip wrote on Tam Lin-a story of a man who was captured by fairies-read the post for a complete summary of the tale. She draws parallels to BATB: "for instance, there's the forbidden forest and the rose motif; the threatening inhuman figure with whom the heroine falls in love; his former identity as a noble young lord; and the fact that the heroine must go through dangers and horrors to rescue him. (There's a theory that Beauty & the Beast is a later bowdlerization of the Tam Lin story, leaving out the sex. I've always rather liked the Disney version more than their other 'fairytales', not least for its gutsy heroine, but it's difficult to imagine it including ravishing among the roses followed by pregnancy...)"

I'd never heard that theory about BATB being taken from Tam Lin, but it's really as closely related as Cupid and Psyche is, the usually credited "ancestor" of the tale.

To further whet your appetite for the whole post, Tam Lin features gender role reversals, also like BATB-the male is effectively the helpless one and must be rescued by the female lover. She also discusses faerie beliefs in Scotland, even relatively current ones.

Illustration by Charles Mikolaycak. At first glance you'd think it was of BATB, right? But it's from Jane Yolen's Tam Lin


  1. There is a good article on the Tam Lin org site if you haven't seen it

    Love the image you chose.

  2. Have you read Winter Rose by Patricia McKillip? It's a retelling of Tam Lin, and is absolutely beautiful. One of my all-time favorite B&B-related stories. =)

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