Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers

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Nina Auerbach, U. C. Knoepflmacher
University of Chicago Press, 1993 - Fiction - 373 pages
In many ways themselves restricted to the status of children, Victorian women were less inclined than the men of their time to idealize childhood--and the children's stories they wrote often tended to be darker and wilder than those of their male counter-parts. As the eleven brilliant stories collected here demonstrate, these fairy tales by Victorian women constitute a distinct literary tradition, one startlingly subversive of the society that fostered it. Collected for the first time in one volume, these fairy tales and fantasies are fascinating for more than their social and historical implications: They are extraordinary stories, full of strange delights for readers of any age. From Anne Thackeray Ritchie's adaptations of "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood" and "Beauty and the Beast," and Jean Ingelow's fantastic novel Mopsa the Fairy to Christina Rossetti's unsettling antifantasies in Speaking Likenesses, these are breathtaking acts of imaginative freedom, by turns amusing, charming, and disturbing. In collecting these works, two of our most distinguished Victorian scholars rescue authors such as Ritchie, Ingelow, Juliana Horatia Ewing, and Mary Louisa Molesworth from undeserved obscurity. At the same time, Auerbach and Knoepflmacher bring to the fore the power of the shorter prose fantasies of more familiar writers like Rossetti, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and E. Nesbit. Five introductory essays by Auerbach and Knoepflmacher place these stories within the fairy-tale tradition and the context of Victorian juvenile and adult fiction. Defining the tales in relation to the Victorian preoccupation with mythmaking, they identify the astringent social satire and literary mockery present in each work. As entertaining as it is enlightening, this anthology ushers readers into a fantasy world of wit, perversity, and wonder.
 

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Forbidden journeys: fairy tales and fantasies by Victorian women writers

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A handful of women, writing ca. 1867-79, used the plot of a girl's journey to forbidding places as a vehicle to expand the genre of children's literature into some unexpected emotional areas. Jean ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Refashioning Fairy Tales
11
Subversions
129
A Fantasy Novel
207
A Trio of Antifantasies
317
Biographical Sketches
361
Further Readings
369
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About the author (1993)

Nina Auerbach is professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania. U. C. Knoepflmacher is professor of English at Princeton University.


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