The Old Wives' Fairy Tale Book

Front Cover
Angela Carter
Pantheon Books, 1995 - Fairy tales - 242 pages
Fairy tales, folk tales, stories from the oral tradition, are all of them the most vital connection we have with the imaginations of the ordinary men and women whose labour created our world."
-- From the Introduction
There was a time when fairy tales weren't meant just for children -- they were part of an oral folklore tradition passed down through generations. This volume of sixty enchanting and enduring tales, collected by master storyteller Angela Carter, revives the industry, eccentricity, spirit, and worldly wisdom of women in preindustrial times. Drawn from narrative traditions all around the world -- from ancient Swahili legends to Appalachian tall tales to European spirit stories and more -- these tales together comprise a unique feminine mythology.
Angela Carter (1940-1992) was widely known for her novels, short stories, and journalism. Her many books include The Magic Toy Shop, The Sadeian Woman, Nights at the Circus, Fireworks, and Saints and Strangers.

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User Review  - LisaMorr - LibraryThing

This was a great collection of fairy tales from all over the world (Eskimo, Burmese, Greek, English, Indian, Russian, West African, Icelandic, etc.). I recognized quite a few as fairy tales I knew as a child, or precursors to those, and others were completely new to me. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - CurrerBell - LibraryThing

My personal liking is for "fractured" fairy tales, "fractured" and lengthier – stories/novellas/novels employing a traditional fairy tale but with a "twist." Consequently, this collection of more ... Read full review


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About the author (1995)

A powerful and disturbing writer, Angela Carter created haunting fiction about travelers surviving their passage through a disintegrating universe. Often based on myth or fairy tale-borrowed or invented for the occasion-her work evokes the most powerful aspects of sexuality and selfhood, of life and death, of apocalypse. Carter's most successful novels include The Magic Toyshop (1967), which received the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and Several Perceptions (1968), winner of the Somerset Maugham Award. The Passion of New Eve (1977), a story of the end of the world and its possible new beginning with failed mankind replaced by a self-generating womankind. She translated many fairy tales and wrote several collections of short stories, including The Bloody Chamber (1979) which won the Cheltenham Festival of Literature Award and was the basis for the powerful movie A Company of Wolves. She worked as a journalist and as a professor at Brown and the University of Texas. She published two nonfiction books of interest: Nothing Sacred, selected writings, and The Sadeian Woman (1979).

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