Shaun Tan (previously, twice) is most identified with his distinctly surreal style of 2D still art, but he has also worked in sculpted and animated forms, as seen in his pieces inspired by recently revised stories of the Brothers Grimm, and The Lost Thing, a short film based on his book of the same name.
The Beauty and the Beast. The Children's Stories Made Horrific series at The Toast has always been nightmare fuel, drawing out the horror inherent in many children's stories, but the latest installment might be the most trenchant yet.
In 2012, selections from an archive of five hundred previously undiscovered fairy tales, found in Regensburg, Germany, were published by Erika Eichenseer. The fairy tales were collected by the historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth, a contemporary of the brothers Grimm. Last year, an English translation of the collection was published. Here are three of the stories, in translation:
The general structure of this tale are well known; a young lady tells a king a series of stories, enough to fill one thousand and one nights, ensuring her survival. The themes became common enough that L. Frank Baum listed the "stereotyped genie, dwarf, and fairy" as traditional fairy tale characters to exclude from his attempts at modern tales, yet there's enough to unpack and discuss to consume multiple lifetimes. This is One Thousand and One Nights, the multinational compilation of folktales and stories, passed as word of mouth, then written and compiled into one large volume. But it was only when one of these collections was translated into French, at a time that fairy tales were already in vogue, did this large frame story and its contained tales really catch on. But it's history is not all that simple a tale. [more inside]
Neil Gaiman: Why Disney's Sleeping Beauty doesn't work (Gaby Wood for The Guardian):
"I feel like some kind of alchemist," Gaiman suggests. "I have to go to the cupboard and take one ounce of Snow White and two ounces of Sleeping Beauty, and heat the Sleeping Beauty and froth the Snow White and mix them together: it's kind of like fusion cuisine. It tastes like both of them but it's actually a new dish."
Are fairy tales back in fashion? Certainly, the recent success of Disney's films Frozen and Maleficent seems to point to something. But most of the fairy tales we know have come to us via 17th century France or 19th century Germany, and have since been subject to so many retellings and rebellions that trends are difficult to map.
The term "fakelore" has one basic core definition: modern tales that are similar to true folklore, the stories and traditions of a culture or group. But there are a few different takes on what exactly fakelore is, from the anti-alcohol lessons inserted in the modified fairy tales re-written and illustrated by George Cruikshank, which earned Horatian satire from Charles Dickens, to Paul Bunyan (the Red River Lumber Company produced the most well-known material; full scans - but this hasn't kept people from giving him a grave marker) and Pecos Bill (Google books preview), who were created as for marketing purposes or to replicate traditional tall tales, and more recently 'so-called "multicultural folktale" picture books [that] are a popular means for teaching about other cultures, especially in the primary grades.'
KC Green, the cartoonist currently writing and drawing Gunshow and writing the pre-apocalyptic fantasy-western Back (with art from Nedroid's Anthony Clark) has embarked upon a third project: a chapter-by-chapter adaptation of Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio, currently up to the end of the book's first chapter. [more inside]
Pratchett's Women: nine essays (by Australian fantasy author Tansy Rayner Roberts) on the portrayal of women in the Discworld books [more inside]
Laura is super passionate about girls fighting evil, creating collages with short stories about various groups of girls fighting off demons - from radio DJs and the interns at Night Vale, to Dorothy Gale, travelers, and of course Beyonce. Sometimes the girls are helping the demons: evil counterparts to Cinderella, Belle, and Snow White, the underwater orchestra, even the underlord's admin assistant. Sometimes they fight each other; sometimes they fight themselves. Some of these fighters are real. Sometimes they'll let you borrow their style.
The Moon is Rolling in Her Grave is a video adaptation of the first chapter of the ongoing (since 2003) comic series "No Rest For The Wicked" by Andrea L. Peterson, a fantasy / adventure / horror tale that takes traditional fairytales and turns them on their heads: "Ms. Peterson uses, in conjunction with several more popular fables, folktales that you may have never even heard of. The entire plot actually centers around a little known Grimm fairytale called 'The Buried Moon', while also making reference to 'Red Riding Hood', 'Hansel & Gretel', 'The Girl Without Hands', 'The Boy Who Went Forth and Learned What Fear Was', and many MANY others." [more inside]
U.K. illustrator Kate Baylay creates gorgeous book illustrations, like these for The Olive Fairy Book. [more inside]
Thomas Robinson and Eliza Heath had three sons, Thomas (1869-1950), Charles (1870-1937), and William (1872-1944), who followed in their father's (and grandfather's) footsteps as illustrators of various sorts. The most widely know was the youngest, W. Heath Robinson, whose contraptions earned him the reputation as the UK counterpart to the US artist Rube Goldberg. But the other two brothers are not to be overlooked. [more inside]
The Singaporean Fairytale is another contribution to the efforts to get Singaporeans to procreate (previously), made by undergraduate students, using reworked fairytales as a vehicle for sex and fertility ed. A lot of the content, however, is suspect: from claiming that sex will always make you feel better (especially if you're a woman) to a woman's worth being only based by their reproductive capacity.
Introvert Fairy Tales Once upon a time there was a woman who never lived in a castle, never married a prince, and always did all her own housework. She also never had paparazzi following her while she was on holidays so they could take topless pictures of her with a telephoto lens and distribute them for public consumption. So there was that.
Theodor Kittelsen (1857-1914) was a Norwegian artist, famous for his (frequently astonishing) pictures of trolls, as well as his illustrations of dragons, fairies, folk stories and the occasional absolute horror. [more inside]
Red is a dark retelling of Little Red Riding Hood done as a bloody, stylish animated short.
Smother Goose, an invaluable resource for anyone who was ever traumatized by a childhood "classic", covers everything from popular kids' books to bizarre movies, even that odd little song you had memorized as a kid. [more inside]
You probably know the Perrault version. And chances are, you haven’t been able to escape the Disney version. Maybe you know the slightly-darker Grimm version, or even the original story of Yeh-Shen. Maybe you’re a fan of musicals, and love Roger and Hammerstein’s Cinderella or Sondheim’s Into the Woods. But chances are, there’s a bit about this classic story you don’t know yet… [more inside]
Originally published by Finnish forkloristAntti Aarne and expanded by American Stith Thompson and German Hans-Jörg Uther, the Aarne-Thompson Classification System is a system for classifying folktales based on motifs. [more inside]
"Hyper-minimalist poster designs of the classic children’s stories we’ve grown to know and love." [more inside]
Leslie Slape has been a professional storyteller for more than 20 years. This column will feature some of her favorite short folktales from around the world. Come on, snuggle up in the rocking chair, and get ready for a story. [more inside]
Fairy-tale author Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić (1874-1938) has been called the "Croatian Anderson", or more recently the "Croatian Tolkien", and twice nominated for a Nobel, in the 1930s, before she committed suicide. Her most famous fairy-tale collection, Croatian Tales of Long Ago (1916), was recently adapted as a flash animation, some of which can be viewed online (flash, pop-ups) in an award-winning site. The original book in English translation (1923) at Internet Archive includes some cool artwork.
Fallen Princesses : Dina Goldstein explores what life might have been like for Rapunzel, Snow White, and others after happily-ever-after. (via)
The Path is a new independent horror-game inspired by the original Little Red Riding Hood stories, being developed by Tale of Tales (previously). The website is fun to explore, and the blog has many links to (and interviews with) their inspirations. They've also interviewed some other game designers. [via]
Something for a kid you know, or your own inner child. Speakaboos offers online stories with the written word below the illustrations, as if read from a book: fables, nursery rhymes, fairy tales, folk tales, lullabies. You can watch the stories without registering. You will have to sign-up (for free) for the future function of recording your own "that will allow kids and parents to record their own voices reading (or singing!) their favorite story, song, or nursery rhyme." Christmas stories. [more inside]
Once Upon a Time - a filmed fairy tale starring baby monkeys lost in frightening trees, a witch, crocodiles, a tiger, a "popotamus" and a lion, and even a "tremendously very bad mammoth." (In French, English subtitles)
FairyTaleFilter: SurLaLune Fairy Tales features 49 annotated fairy tales, including their histories, similar tales across cultures, modern interpretations and over 1,500 illustrations, 1,600 folktales & fairy tales from around the world in more than 40 full-text eBooks. Fairy Tale timeline. l Women Children's Book Illustrators l The Evolution of the Illustrated Children's Book l Some really beautiful free graphics and clipart from Grandma's Graphics. [more inside]
Over 2000 classic tales and fables including Aesop's Fables, Bulfinch's Mythology, Indian "Why" Stories, tales by Oscar Wilde, Beatrix Potter, Rudyard Kipling, Louisa May Alcott, L. Frank Baum and Harriet Beecher Stowe and stories about Abraham Lincoln, Robin Hood and Baron Munchausen. And more! The folk and fairytale collection is particularly rich, with hundreds of stories from all over the world.
The Hans Christian Andersen Digital Collections of the Odense City Museums includes his drawings, papercuts, picture books and collage screens as well as portraits of him and people he knew, manuscripts, pictures of his study and more. If you wish to read his fairytales might I suggest the illustrated Oxford Complete Edition Fairy Tales And Other Stories from 1914.
Yes, that is indeed Mick Jagger playing a Chinese emperor. And those are, in fact, Edward James Olmos, Bud Cort, and Barbara Hershey heading up the supporting cast of "The Nightingale," a particularly odd episode of Shelley Duvall's ludicrously star-studded Faerie Tale Theatre. Throughout its early '80s run, the show used dozens of prominent actors to perform the fairy tale standards, including Klaus Kinski and Susan Sarandon in a virtual remake of the Cocteau "Beauty and the Beast;" Paul Reubens, James Coburn, Carl Reiner, and Vincent Schiavelli in "Pinnochio;" Helen Mirren and Brian Dennehy in "The Little Mermaid;" and James Earl Jones and Leonard Nimoy in a Tim Burton-directed "Aladdin and His Wonderful Lamp." The list goes on and on.
Pan's Labyrinth the new movie by director Guillermo del Toro (Devil's Backbone) is a fairy tale for grownups. Certainly not a new idea, stories like Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia have elements that appeal to adults, but Pan's Labyrinth is perhaps unique in that it's not at all suitable for children.
Journal of Mythic Arts - an online journal for the exploration of myth, folklore, and fairy tales, and their use in contemporary art. A smattering from the archives: Shape-Shifters; Old Wives' Tales; Wolf's Heart.
The Toymaker offers over 40 free paper toys and pretties you can print out (PDFs) and make yourself, as well as "Stories to be Told by Firelight" - online versions of author/illustrator Marilyn Scott Waters' children's stories and lots of other fun goodies. For people who have kids, people who know kids, people who are kids, and people who love papercraft, illustration, toys, and tales. [more...]
Traditional Russian fairytales with beautiful illustrations depicting scenes from the stories.
The mystery of Stefan Mart and the 'Tales of the Nations'. "The Tales of Nations" was not an ordinary book that you could buy in a book store, and it's mysterious narrator/illustrator disappeared into the darkness of Hitler's Germany, seemingly without a trace. Learn the background, read the stories, and view all 150 fabulous colour illustrations — "small in size, but strong in expression, each a microcosm packed with action, each a feast for the eyes like a beautifully set jewel".
Japanese fairy tales. In English, illustrated.
Little Red Riding Hood's wayward past revealed: "Once upon a time, (the story) was a seduction tale. An engraving accompanying the first published version of the story, in Paris in 1697, shows a girl in her déshabille, lying in bed beneath a wolf. According to the plot, she has just stripped out of her clothes, and a moment later the tale will end with her death in the beast’s jaws — no salvation, no redemption. Any reader of the day would have immediately understood the message: In the French slang, when a girl lost her virginity it was said that 'elle avoit vû le loup' — she’d seen the wolf."
Fable ...There once was a boy with a mind of his own. Alone in a dangerous world, his destiny, the paths of good and evil... Built like a children's book with tabs that you toggle, choose your path in this gothic tale. The site is a beautifully designed promo for the upcoming xbox game release, but worth a visit for the illustrations and execution alone. (caveats: flash site that opens in a pop-up window, contains sound.)
Amy Bender writes modern fairy tales. Whether these stories are magical realism, irrealism, or just plain crazy, is this a continuing trend in fiction?
"Theriantropic harridan, what elephantine denticles permeate your oral orifice!" Minikin Incarnadine Cowl-Titivated Gamine adduced. From Fairy Tales for the Erudite, for those of you who enjoy a good story where the twain exist evermore in felicity and Elysium.
Rumplestiltskin gets torn in half, Cinderella's stepsisters get their eyes pecked out, and Snow White's stepmother dances in red hot iron shoes until she dies from exhaustion. These are the original endings to the non-sweetened, and sometimes unsavory, fairy tales collected or written by by reclusive librarians Jacob and Wilhelm, better know as The Brothers Grimm. Their first book, Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Childrens' and Household Tales) was published in 1812. Several more books, mostly of folk tales collected from willing relatives and friends, followed, some containing bizarre and disturbing stories with less than happy endings. As the National Geographic Grimm site puts it, "Looking for a sweet, soothing tale to waft you toward dreamland? Look somewhere else. The stories collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the early 1800s serve up life as generations of central Europeans knew it—capricious and often cruel." Check out the strange 1960 Mp3s and RealAudio files of some Grimm tales.