Spellbound: The Fairy Tale and the Victorians

Spellbound: The Fairy Tale and the Victorians

by Molly Clark Hillard


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Spellbound: The Fairy Tale and the Victorians by Molly Clark Hillard

In examining the relationship between fairy tales and Victorian culture, Molly Clark Hillard concludes that the Victorians were “spellbound”: novelists, poets, and playwrights were self-avowedly enchanted by these tales. At the same time, Spellbound: The Fairy Tale and the Victorians shows that literary genres were bound to the fairy tale and dependent on its forms and figures to make meaning. But these “spellbound” literary artists also feared that fairy tales exuded an originative power that pervaded and precluded authored work. In part to dispel the fairy tale’s potency, Victorians resolved this tension by treating the form as a nostalgic refuge from an industrial age, a quaint remnant of the pre-literacy of childhood and peasantry, and a form fit not for modern gentlemen but rather for old wives.

Through close readings of the novels of Dickens, Eliot, and Charlotte Brontë; the poetry of Tennyson and Christina Rossetti; the visual artistry of Burne-Jones and Punch; and the popular theatricals of dramatists like Planche and Buckingham, Spellbound opens fresh territory into well-traversed titles of the Victorian canon. Hillard demonstrates that these literary forms were all cross-pollenated by the fairy tale and that their authors were—however reluctantly—purveyors of disruptive fairy tale matter over which they had but imperfect control.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780814252802
Publisher: Ohio State University Press
Publication date: 06/01/2016
Edition description: 1
Pages: 290
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Molly Clark Hillard is assistant professor of English at Seattle University.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Nostalgia, Literacy, and the Fairy Tale 1

Part 1 Matter

1 The Novelist and the Collector 23

2 Pickwick Papers and the End of Miscellany 38

3 The Natural History of Thornfield 50

4 Antiquity, Novelty, and The Key to All Mythologies 61

Part 2 Spell

5 Sleeping Beauty and Victorian Temporality 77

6 Keats on Sleep and Beauty 82

7 "A Perfect Form in Perfect Rest": Tennyson's "Day Dream" 92

8 Burne-Jones and the Poetic Frame 108

Part 3 Produce

9 Fairy Footsteps and Goblin Economies 131

10 The Great Exhibition: Fairy Palace, Goblin Market 138

11 Rossetti's Homeopathy 154

Part 4 Paraphrase

12 Little Red Riding Hood Arrives in London 173

13 Little Red Riding Hood's Progress 179

14 Little Red Riding Hood and Other Waterside Characters 197

Conclusion: Andrew Lang, Collaboration, and Fairy Tale Methodologies 217

Notes 225

Bibliography 253

Index 266

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