The Fairies Return
Or, New Tales for Old
Compiled by Peter Davies
Edited and with an introduction by Maria Tatar
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.