Friday, March 30, 2012

Fairy Tale Friday: Snow White and Rose Red

“There is no satisfactory equivalent to the German word m√§rchen, tales of magic and wonder such as those collected by the Brothers Grimm: Rapunzel, Hansel & Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, The Six Sans, and other such familiar stories. We call them fairy tales, although none of the above stories actually contains a creature called a ‘fairy’…”

link to original here
So begins Terri Windling’s introduction to Patricia C. Wrede’s spectacular rendition of Snow White and Rose Red. This is by far my favorite version of said fairy tale, and now that I’m revisiting my copy, I’m wondering if my love is in part because the introduction is so spectacular. 

And I’m not one for introductions. If the first page of a book starts with "Introduction" enlarged and bolded across the top, I’m more likely to put it down in favor of doing a load of laundry instead.

And I’m not one for doing laundry. Ask Hubs…or on second thought, don’t.

Terri Windling is the creator and editor of the Fairy Tales series, so she writes this intro to give background on fairy tales in general. Some of her points:

  •  Fairy tales were originally created for adult audiences, and were very popular, used widely as fodder for many well-known authors' and poets' work. Both the aristocracy and people of the masses loved them (you probably already knew this?).
  • It wasn't until the Age of Enlightenment, when more emphasis was placed on rational and scientific ways of thinking, that literary fantasy went out of fashion. “[Fairy tales] came to be seen as fit only for children, relegated to the nursery…” (maybe you didn’t know this?).
  • A lot of the tales date back thousands of years, back to when stories were oral rather than written, and much of the magic I imagine was in the face-to-face telling; the leaning into each other, waiting breathlessly for what’s going to happen next; the flicker and smell, the warmth, of fire as people drink and eat and gather around the hearth (I kind of knew this, though in truth, I hadn’t thought about how important it was).
  • Yet much of the magic, the heroism, and the courtly romance has been lost in watered-down versions of the stories. Some have been altered so much that the originals have been pretty much forgotten. Do we all know that the little mermaid really dies at the end? Something having to do with sea foam…?
Which is one of the reasons I brought Snow White and Rose Red to the forefront again. Most people I know don’t recall this fairy tale. I didn’t, when I first found Patricia’s version. I was at that tenuous age somewhere around 14 or 15, where I was sure I knew pretty much everything there was to know, and yet I could be shaken off my foundations with one ungracious “puuff” from teacher, friend, or foe.

This fairy tale shook my foundations, but in a good way. “I thought I knew all the fairy tales," I said to myself, then, being a voracious reader. "There’s more?” 

Tonight, with a sigh that releases some of the desperation I didn’t know was there, I smile a little. "I thought I knew it all," I chuckle to myself, now, trying everyday to be a voracious live-er. "But thankfully there’s always more."

link to original here
Huge thanks to DR and Sleepy Joe, who boldly took up my little challenge from last week’s Fairy Tale Friday. In doing so you did multiple things that are very meaningful to me – 

      You remembered. You took some time out of your lives to think about and then create something beautiful and unique, something no one else could have created. Time is hard to come by, these days. Beauty, uniqueness too. I can’t find these stories anywhere else but on your blogs? Truly awesome.

      Then you shared your stories. This is a big deal, I know, because you’re putting pieces of yourselves out there for others to read, draw judgments about, opening yourselves to potential ridicule. But you’re also opening yourselves to the idea of community, that you’re part of something bigger, and that you’re words and your humanity are an integral ingredient of what makes up the whole. 

      By sharing you invite me, and other readers, to your virtual hearth. I’m bringing my own beverage, I hope you've got something yummy too? We may be thousands of miles apart, but tonight the flicker of the screen lights up my face, I’m leaning in, and as I go through your variations of the Snow White and Rose Red story, I can tell that  somehow you've tapped into the magic that was there before. 

Maybe the originals aren't entirely lost, rather locked away somewhere inside ourselves? What do you think?

Here are their links:



Happy reading!



Total pages logged as of today: 183 but visit my Deadline Updates page for more info

Moment of Magic today:

Refer to all of the above. I'm basking in it all tonight.


14 comments:

  1. Great post, you have pointed out some superb details, I will tell my friends that this is a very informative blog thanks.
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    1. Thanks for the great feedback, for enjoying the details, and for thinking my blog is news worthy enough to spread to friends.

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  2. I just re-read my favorite fairy tale book from childhood, and it is still awesome. My favorite: The Donkey Skin. The book gave me shivers as a kids. I can't believe I was allowed to read it! But it was 'fairy tales' and those are soft, Disney tales. Not so, and thank goodness!

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    1. I've never read that one, or even heard of it? But again I'm so relieved such a thing can be -- that there are so many more unheard fairy tales out there to be found and loved and learned from.

      I'm heading off to look it up now. Thanks.

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  3. "Maybe the originals aren't entirely lost, rather locked away somewhere inside ourselves? What do you think?" - I think this is so true and so beautifully put. I am excited to read the others' fairy tales.
    In other news, I have been dealing with fish ALL WEEK LONG in the strangest of ways and here it is Saturday all of a sudden and I'm so sad that I didn't get a dreadful fairy tale together for you. Perhaps I will be late to the party. It's still something I want to do.

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    1. No worries, eh? Dealing with fish all week long sounds dreadful indeed, almost as if you've been creating a living-dreadful-fairytale, of sorts. If you still want to play with this story, you're definitely welcome to. I'd love to link up your virtual hearth too :)

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  4. It hasn't been fish, exactly, here but I am always running SO FAR behind and never have as much time to putter at the keyboard as I would like. Putting the two versions above on my list to read, though. And really admire your efforts to explore fairy tale concepts more in depth--I think at heart, there are definitely universal and truly timeless themes there.

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    1. Speaking of running so far behind...I think blogging should be a full-time job. Oh, it is? Uh, why am I not getting paid for this? Golly, it'd be awesome to just follow all my favorite blogs all day, keep up on my comments both here and on their pages, etc.

      *Sigh* I'm getting the feeling that even if there were enough time to do everything I wanted, I'd still need more time.

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  5. Didn't think of fairy tales as being originally directed toward adults, but it makes sense. So many children's shows have adult-oriented jokes incorporated into them.

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    1. Yeah, for sure I've noticed that too. But if you read some of the original fairy tales? They're not short on the grim-side. Their consequences for decisions they've made often result in life or death situations, etc.

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  6. Hmmm it still intrigues me why they are called fairy stories when there are no faries in sight. I remember it being a bit of a disappointment when I was young, only a little though!!

    Keep feeding us the useful information ;-)

    PS Thanks for the link up, I have been doing a little basking of my own after the comments I have had!

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    1. Of course, Sleepy Joe. Thanks again for creating the story so I could link up with your blog. I'm glad you're getting readers and comments. Makes me happy.

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  7. Oh and loving the resources page! Looking forward to some time off work that I have coming up so that I can spend some time looking at all the links!!

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    1. You'll have to tell me what you think. I keep running into all these blogs that have really great resources, think about putting them into my page, but I don't want my list to get too long. I have such a hard time narrowing them down, though. Maybe I'll rotate them every once in awhile. Hmmm.

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