Fairytale fantasy


Fairytale fantasy

Fairytale fantasy is distinguished from other subgenres of fantasy by the works' heavy use of motifs, and often plots, from folklore.

History

Giambattista Basile retold many fairy tales in the Pentamerone, an aristocratic frame story and aristocratic retellings. From there, the literary fairy tale was taken up by the French 'salon' writers of 17th century Paris (Madame d'Aulnoy, Charles Perrault, etc.) and other writers who took up the folktales of their time and developed them into literary forms. The Grimm brothers, despite their intentions being to "restore" the tales they collected, also transformed the Märchen they collected into Kunstmärchen. (Literary fairytales were not unknown in the Roman era: Apuleius included several in The Golden Ass.)

These stories are not regarded as fantasies but as literary fairytales, even retrospectively, but from this start, the fairy tale remained a literary form, and fairytale fantasies were an offshoot. Fairytale fantasies, like other fantasies, make use of novelistic writing conventions of prose, characterization, or setting. [Diana Waggoner, "The Hills of Faraway: A Guide to Fantasy", p 22-3, 0-689-10846-X] The precise dividing line is not well defined, but it is applied, even to the works of a single author: George MacDonald's "Lilith" and "Phantastes" are regarded as fantasies, while his "The Light Princess", "The Golden Key", and "The Wise Woman" are commonly called fairy tales.

Genre overview

This genre may include modern fairytales, which use fairytale motifs in original plots, such as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and The Hobbit, as well as erotic, violent, or otherwise more adult-oriented retellings of classic fairytales (many of which, in many variants, were originally intended an audience of adults, or a mixed audience of all ages), such as the comic book series Fables. It can also include fairy tales with the plot fleshed out with characterization, setting, and fuller plots, to form a child's or YA novel.

Many fairytale fantasies are revisionist, often reversing the moral values of the characters involved. This may be done for the intrinsic aesthetic interest, or for a thematic exploration. Writers may also make the magic of the fairytale self-consistent in a fantasy re-telling, based on technological extrapolation in a science fiction, or explain it away in a contemporary or historical work of fiction.

Other forms of fantasy, especially comic fantasy, may include fairy tale motifs as partial elements, as when Terry Pratchett's Discworld contains a witch who lives in a gingerbread house, or when Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest is rife with princesses and princes trying to fit in their appointed fairytale roles.

The settings of fairytale fantasies, like the fairy tales they derive from, may owe less to world-building than to the logic of folk tales. Princes can go wandering in the woods and return with a bride without consideration for all the political effects of royal marriages. A common, comic, motif is a world where all the fairy tales take place, and the characters are aware of their role in the story [K. M. Briggs, "The Fairies in English Tradition and Literature", p 195, University of Chicago Press, London, 1967] , occasionally even breaking the fourth wall.

Other writers may develop the world as fully as in other subgenres, generating a work that is also, based on setting, a high fantasy, historical fantasy, or contemporary fantasy.

ee also

* List of fairytale fantasies
* Mythic fiction

References

External links

* [http://www.fairytalereview.com The Fairy Tale Review: a Journal of Fairy Tale Literature]
* [http://www.cabinet-des-fees.com/ Cabinet des Fees: On-line Journal of Fairy Tale Literature]
* [http://endicottstudio.typepad.com/jomahome/ Journal of Mythic Arts: On-line Journal of Fairy Tale Literature]
* [http://www.surlalunefairyales.com SurLaLune Fairy Tales:] Modern Interpretations pages for over 45 tales include lists of modern redactions of fairy tales. Also announces new releases in the genre.


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