The Fairies Return: Or, New Tales for Old

Overview

Originally issued in 1934, The Fairies Return was the first collection of modernist fairy tales ever published in England, and it marked the arrival of a satirical classic that has never been surpassed. Even today, this reimagining of fourteen timeless tales—from "Puss in Boots" to "Little Red Riding Hood"—is still fresh and bold, giving readers a world steeped not in once upon a time, but in the here and now.

Longtime favorites in this playfully subversive collection are retold...

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Overview

Originally issued in 1934, The Fairies Return was the first collection of modernist fairy tales ever published in England, and it marked the arrival of a satirical classic that has never been surpassed. Even today, this reimagining of fourteen timeless tales—from "Puss in Boots" to "Little Red Riding Hood"—is still fresh and bold, giving readers a world steeped not in once upon a time, but in the here and now.

Longtime favorites in this playfully subversive collection are retold for modern times and mature sensibilities. In "Jack the Giant Killer," Jack becomes a trickster who must deliver England from the hands of three ogres after a failed government inquiry. "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" is set in contemporary London and the world of financial margins and mergers. In "The Little Mermaid," a young Canadian girl with breathtaking swimming skills is lured by the temptations of Hollywood. And Cinderella becomes a spinster and holy woman, creating a very different happily ever after. These tales expose social anxieties, political corruption, predatory economic behavior, and destructive appetites even as they express hope for a better world. A new introduction from esteemed fairy-tale scholar Maria Tatar puts the collection in context.

From stockbrokers and socialites to shopkeepers and writers, the characters in The Fairies Return face contemporary challenges while living in the magical world of fairy tales.

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Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
All the stories are…wonderfully accomplished, witty, satirical—and they make for perfect light entertainment…This edition of The Fairies Return is a handsome stocking-stuffer-size volume…and, all in all, an ideal bedside book.
—Michael Dirda
Times Literary Supplement
[M]odern answers to Grimm, variously satirical, queered and jaunty, by a diverse, intriguing group of writers.
— Marina Warner
The Age
True to the spirit of the folk tale, they keep their stories provincial even as they modernise the settings. Aladdin is a Scottish undertaker in the town of Drumlochie. Cinderella lives in a secluded valley somewhere in Wales. She lives alone, having learnt a hard lesson in love: her story, typically for this collection, brings disenchantment, not happiness.
— Ken Gelder
Times Literary Supplement - Marina Warner
[M]odern answers to Grimm, variously satirical, queered and jaunty, by a diverse, intriguing group of writers.
Spinning Straw into Gold - Christie Ricardo
In the wake of the Great War, in the deep bowl of economic depression, on the doorstep of World War II, these stories are the cultural tradition of a disillusioned generation. . . . They are skillfully and delightfully executed renderings, a treasure-collection of the talents of the time, and plain good literature. I recommend them without hesitation.
BookGeeks - Kirsty Hewitt
This beautifully produced reissue, published by Princeton University Press and part of the 'Oddly Modern Fairy Tales' series, features an illustration on its front cover which dates back to 1939. It is an extremely well laid out volume, and its introduction and author biographies make lovely additions to the book. . . . This is a collection of tales which certainly deserved a reprint, and will delight lovers of fairytales, nostalgia, British history and short stories alike.
The Age - Ken Gelder
True to the spirit of the folk tale, they keep their stories provincial even as they modernise the settings. Aladdin is a Scottish undertaker in the town of Drumlochie. Cinderella lives in a secluded valley somewhere in Wales. She lives alone, having learnt a hard lesson in love: her story, typically for this collection, brings disenchantment, not happiness.
Choice
[D]elightful . . .
From the Publisher
"[M]odern answers to Grimm, variously satirical, queered and jaunty, by a diverse, intriguing group of writers."—Marina Warner, Times Literary Supplement

"In the wake of the Great War, in the deep bowl of economic depression, on the doorstep of World War II, these stories are the cultural tradition of a disillusioned generation. . . . They are skillfully and delightfully executed renderings, a treasure-collection of the talents of the time, and plain good literature. I recommend them without hesitation."—Christie Ricardo, Spinning Straw into Gold blog

"This beautifully produced reissue, published by Princeton University Press and part of the 'Oddly Modern Fairy Tales' series, features an illustration on its front cover which dates back to 1939. It is an extremely well laid out volume, and its introduction and author biographies make lovely additions to the book. . . . This is a collection of tales which certainly deserved a reprint, and will delight lovers of fairytales, nostalgia, British history and short stories alike."—Kirsty Hewitt, BookGeeks (UK)

"It's intriguing to see how past authors used fairy tales in their modern fiction."Sur La Lune blog

"The uniqueness of the collection will make you want to savor it, just as I did. . . . You will feel drawn to inspect each story closely, not only because of the tales' fanciful nature, but also because of their fascinating historical placement and significance."Beanstalk blog

"True to the spirit of the folk tale, they keep their stories provincial even as they modernise the settings. Aladdin is a Scottish undertaker in the town of Drumlochie. Cinderella lives in a secluded valley somewhere in Wales. She lives alone, having learnt a hard lesson in love: her story, typically for this collection, brings disenchantment, not happiness."—Ken Gelder, The Age

"[D]elightful . . ."Choice

"[A] delightfully different fairy-tale experience for the contemporary reader. Even those well versed in literary fairy-tales will find something new and enchanting in this volume. . . . This collection is an essential addition to the libraries of those who study fairy-tale retellings and will be an enjoyable read for many others as well. Clever, revealing, and often oddly poignant, these stories deserve recognition."—Brittany Warman, Marvels & Tales

Spinning Straw into Gold
In the wake of the Great War, in the deep bowl of economic depression, on the doorstep of World War II, these stories are the cultural tradition of a disillusioned generation. . . . They are skillfully and delightfully executed renderings, a treasure-collection of the talents of the time, and plain good literature. I recommend them without hesitation.
— Christie Ricardo
BookGeeks
This beautifully produced reissue, published by Princeton University Press and part of the 'Oddly Modern Fairy Tales' series, features an illustration on its front cover which dates back to 1939. It is an extremely well laid out volume, and its introduction and author biographies make lovely additions to the book. . . . This is a collection of tales which certainly deserved a reprint, and will delight lovers of fairytales, nostalgia, British history and short stories alike.
— Kirsty Hewitt
Sur La Lune blog
It's intriguing to see how past authors used fairy tales in their modern fiction.
Beanstalk blog
The uniqueness of the collection will make you want to savor it, just as I did. . . . You will feel drawn to inspect each story closely, not only because of the tales' fanciful nature, but also because of their fascinating historical placement and significance.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691152301
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 9/9/2012
  • Series: Oddly Modern Fairy Tales Series
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 948,848
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Peter Davies (1897-1960) was the rumored inspiration for Peter Pan, the daredevil character created by his adoptive father, author J. M. Barrie. Davies was the founder of the publishing house Peter Davies Ltd. Maria Tatar is the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and chair of the Program in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University. She is the editor of The Annotated Peter Pan and the author of Enchanted Hunters (both Norton), among many other books.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Maria Tatar
1

Jack the Giant Killer
A. E. Coppard
39

Godfather Death
Clemence Dane
65

The Fisherman and His Wife
E. M. Delafield
95

Little Snow-White
Lord Dunsany
121

Aladdin
Anna Gordon Keown
137

Sindbad the Sailor
Eric Linklater
163

Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
A. G. Macdonell
186

Puss in Boots
Helen Simpson
208

The Little Mermaid
Lady Eleanor Smith
228

Little Red Riding-Hood
E. oe. Somerville
249

Cinderella
Robert Speaight
271

'O, If I Could but Shiver!'
Christina Stead
302

The Sleeping Beauty
G. B. Stern
325

Big Claus and Little Claus
R. J. Yeatman and W. C. Sellar
354

Author Biographies 365

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