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.
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.
"[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
Table of Contents
Other Princeton books authored or coauthored by Maria Tatar: