Friday, September 14, 2012

The Fairies Return

This year I had a blog first: I was sent a book from the publisher! The book is The Fairies Return:Or, New Tales for Old (Oddly Modern Fairy Tales), compiled by Peter Llewelyn Davies. Surlalune recently featured this book as well.

Peter Llewelyn Davies was one of the five boys that J.M. Barrie had befriended when he (Davies) was a child and therefore was thought to be the inpiration for Peter Pan; in fact it was all of the boys combined who eventually became the famous character, and Peter Davies resented the fact that for the rest of his life society thought of him as "Peter Pan." However, no doubt the rich imagination of J.M. Barrie which infiltrated his childhood helped inspire him to collect fairy tales later in his life.

Peter's life was full of hardships-from Maria Tatar's introduction: "Peter Davies' childhood reads in many ways like a fairy tale, not the "happily ever after" variety, but one more like the many chain tales recorded by the Grimms in which misfortune breeds hard luck which in turn begets misery and finally leads to tragedy."

As many of us less than casual fans of fairy tales will be quick to point out, it's really the suffering the characters initially go through in fairy tales that have made the tales so well-loved for so long-fairy tales are NOT idyllic scenes from start to finish, so that could be another part of the appeal of fairy tales to Davies.

The darker and more tragic parts of fairy tales would also have appealed to the audience at the time. England was in between major world wars (the collection was originally published in 1934), and many of the versions of fairy tales in the book reflect the sentiments of the era. In fact that's partly what makes this book such a unique collection, is its historical significance as well as the interpretations of tales.

I've only begun to read the stories and will probably share some more personal reflections as I get a chance to explore it more, which I'm very excited to do!

1 comment:

  1. I got one, too. How exciting! It's like a book club, I'm eager to compare "notes" with you. c: