- scholarship, historian
- later years & death
- the fairy books
- textual sources & style
- critical reputation,psychial research
- work and summary
- adaptation & influence
The Fairy Books, or “Coloured” Fairy Books is a collection of fairy tales divided into twelve books, each associated with a different colour. Collected together by Andrew Land they are sourced from a number of different countries and were translated by Lang’s wife and other translators who also retold many of the tales. The collection has been incalculably important and, although he did not source the stories himself direct from the oral tradition he can make claim to the first English translation of many.First published in 1890, The Red Fairy Bookis the 2nd volume in this series.
Andrew Lang was a poet, novelist, literary critic and anthropologist. But perhaps he is best known as a collector of folk tales. His series of twelve Fairy Books were published between 1889 and 1910. Together, they took in more than four hundred fairy tales many of which had never before been translated into English. The series was incredibly influential but, more importantly, loved by hundreds of thousands of children and their parents. They are full of magic and courage and love and loss, enchanted forests, wicked trolls, treasure troves and the vanquishing of evil. They are wonderful.
Hesperus Press have made me very happy by reissuing the first two in the series – the Red and Blue books. I have the Red book to review and it’s a beautiful edition with a wonderful silhoutted jacket design by Madeline Meckliffe with golden titling. I would have loved the look of this book as a child. And I love it now.
Some of the stories you’ll know. The Red book includes Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel and The Golden Goose. There are some you won’t know – my favourite is the Norwegian Dapplegrim in which a horse ensures that his master will find and win the hand of a beautiful princess. Norse mythology gets another look-in with The Story of Sigurd the famously tragic story of a Danish hero.