Thursday, April 17, 2014

Maria Tatar in Faerie Magazine

I bought a subscription to Faerie Magazine years ago and I'm not sure how long I'm going to keep getting them for, but there is a new issue out. When I flip through, I'm always a little confused at how random some of the articles are. With such a specific reader base-those who are interested in faeries and lore-why have such generalized topics such as spring umbrellas, berry pie, 10 ways to laugh more, and ways to spend a rainy day? There is also some fairy fiction scattered throughout. I remember one past issue had an article on cotton, which I never understood.
Not to bash the magazine or anything. Beautiful pictures, and some people would enjoy being inspired by faerie-like things, but I personally would prefer something a little more academic overall.

But every issue has one article which I find really interesting. This time it was an interview with Maria Tatar, well-known fairy tale scholar and author. I like everything I've read by her and have great respect for her opinions. In addition, I found the questions they asked to be very relevant-topics that have gotten a lot of discussion on this blog and others, and are very pertinent for our culture. Tatar talks about her favorite tales, the issue of the violence in tales, advice for parents reading fairy tales to their children, the appeal of mermaids, and the overall popularity the tales have in today's culture/Hollywood. Her answers were succinct and yet managed to address each topic well.

Here's an excerpt:
"Faerie Magazine: How do you account for the recent surge of fairy tale-related movies and television shows and books? Why are we reconnecting with fairy tales now?
Maria Tatar: Culture is marked by crisis, and every age is seen as a time of turmoil...In times of crisis, we need the consolations of imagination more than ever-in particular the tried and true. Everything feels unstable these days...It's comforting to go back to stories from the culture of childhood or from the childhood of culture. These are the stories told by our ancestors, and they are also the tales we grew up with. And they are compact and action-packed. They give us small doses of large effects. We have never stopped refashioning fairy tales, but it's more obvious today than it was fifty years ago...We now understand that Disney appropriated the tales for a time, but they have always circulated in popular culture-now we own up to it."


  1. Hi Kristin, I'm glad you liked the interview with Maria Tatar, though I'm sorry you didn't love the rest if the issue as much!

  2. Hey Kristin: I've been searching for the magazine in our various bookstores & 'zine stocked places but no luck yet. I can only find the pervious Mermaid special issue. It's the Tatar article I was most interested in, although I'm curious about the new layout/design approach too. sounds like the topic is one she's thinking a lot about recently - which is fantastic because she's addressing more of the pop-cuture usage, ie. how fairy tales are used and re-fashioned today, as it's happening. I think we can best influence things if we're ahead of the curve instead of always catching up historically (even 10 years ago is history in the fast-paced media age). To have Tatar be talking about this in various places makes me more hopeful that she will be thought of as a resource for Hollywood and pop-culture influences wanting to create/recreate/reinvent fairy tales in future. I'm pretty excited at what I'm seeing in this trend-wise! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Carolyn-Yes, the interview was great! And again, it's really just personal preference. I had different expectations when I ordered my first subscription but a lot of people would be more interested in it the way it is now than a bunch of historical and analytical articles!

    InkGypsy-Yeah I don't know how fast they are available in bookstores. But that would be wonderful to have her consult as part of new Hollywood retellings!