(2/2/01 8:28:13 am)
|Adult fairy tales?|
Hi, I wonder if anyone could reccomend some good adult fairy tale novels? I've read quite a few by Frances Gordon, such as "Wildwood" a modern take on "Little Red Riding Hood", as well as "Changeling" and one about Sleeping Beauty, but I've forgotten the name of that one.
Are there any other stories like those, or authors who write this sort of thing?
Thanks very much,
(2/2/01 11:02:14 am)
|Re: Adult fairy tales?|
I will let everyone else recommend specific books--there are many! We have editors and authors of some of the best ones right here on this board.
A quick way to get a list is on my site at:
SurLaLune Fairy Tale Pages
In each area about the various fairy tales I have listed, I have included a "Modern Interpretations" area where novels, short stories, poems, etc. are listed. For example, the list for Beauty and the Beast is available at:
of Beauty and the Beast
Have fun reading! There are a lot of great books out there.
(2/2/01 12:31:25 pm)
Try any of the adult fairy tales in the series that Terri Windling has been editing now for years: Steve Brust's "The Sun, The Moon & the Stars", Charles deLint: "Jack the Giant Killer", Pamela Dean: "Tam Lin", Kara Dalkey: "The Nightingale", Tanith Lee: "White as Snow"...there are more, and each of these is a novel spun directly from a fairy tale.
Similarly, Donna Jo Napoli writes YA novels spun from fairy tales, such as "Beast "and "Zel".
Gregory Maguire writes his own brand of fairy tale-driven fantasies: "Wicked" and "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister."
Geoff Ryman tapped the Wizard of Oz for his great novel, "Was."
Jonathan Carroll works the vein of fairy tale in his books, as does John Crowley, and far more other names than I can remember to drop off the top of my head here.
Seek and ye shall find...
(2/2/01 12:39:26 pm)
|Adult fairy tales|
I've enjoyed some of the Robin McKinley's retellings - "Beauty" for one.
I had a question though for anyone who has read her "Deerskin" novel. It plays on the 'Donkeyskin' theme and I liked much of it. However, I never could figure out why her mother (and her mother's portrait) ended up so 'evil'...? From the intro accounts, her parents sounded 'perfect' and very devoted to each other. Somewhere along the way, her mother became obsessive and her father, incestuous.... If there was a triggering factor, other than the mother dying, I missed it.
(2/3/01 2:28:51 am)
Thanks for all the recommendations, I'll have to get to
some of those.
I've just finished reading "Deerskin" and I was left wondering the same thing, why did her mother suddenly become evil? There didn't seem to be anything in particular to trigger that.
I think the incestous theme came about, not so much because the mother dies, but because as the princess grows up she looks so like her mother, maybe it would still have happened even if the Queen lived.
(2/3/01 4:21:16 pm)
|Circular reasoning ...|
Sorry that it's been so long since I've written - busy, busy, busy semester!!! But I did finish the first half of my research project (this semester I'm continuing it with the question of magic in Rome through mystery cults and their remnants - the Villa of Mysteries, the Golden Ass, etc.- the revival of interest in magic during the Renaissance via the figure of Hermes, and more magic in the early modern period, using various "socially instructive novels". Glorious, intoxicating FUN!)
What caught my eye about this thread was the fact that I wrote a paper on this subject. My theory was that the incestuous themes in Donkeyskin began not with the daughter, but with the mother. The story that the nurse tells to the daughter emphasizes her father's obsession with her beauty, and his intention to "keep her for himself" by setting impossible tasks for her suitors. Such an upbringing, which focused sharply upon her worth as an object of beauty and sexual atraction (regardless of whether or not the trauma of physical abuse was involved) could easily grow into an obsession with her appearance when that beauty began to fade, and might also be passed along from her to the father with the promise that he must "marry no woman less beatiful that [her]" (i.e., her daughter, her double), as he might be cruel to any woman whose looks did not measure up. I think that it was probabley intentional on Mckinley's part, working with the theory that incest is frequently passed from one generation to the next. Fascinating novel - she's one of the best out there.
Some other authors that you might like ... I would highly recomend the following:
Monica Furlong, for Wise Child and Juniper, which both have a fairy tale feel, though they don't follow any specific fairy tale storyline.
Patricia A. Mckillip - everything she's ever written. She takes elements from the fairy tale genre as a whole, rather than from any one specific story, and amalgamates them into wholly wonderful new tales.
Jack Vance - ditto.
I could go on indefinately. Other fantabulous authors who are excellent fantasists include Storm Constantine, Tanith Lee, Neil Gaiman (ahhh.... the Holy Trinity of Great British writers whose work actually makes it to American soil. There are countless others, whose work I _ just_ can't_get_my_hands_on!!!*frustration*), Rosemary Edgehill, Mary Gentle, Caroline Stevermer, and *definitely* Terri Windling and Midori Snyder - between the Wood Wife and the Inammoratti (positive I misspelled that - sorry, have yet to take Italien, or even Latin for that matter - so much to DO, so little time) you can glut youself on the products of contributors to this board alone. And that's just the fiction writers, as opposed to the poets!
pant, pant, pant ...
I'll quit before I drive myself into a hysterical frenzy ... but seriously, there's a LOT of great stuff out there.
(2/5/01 8:56:25 am)
Your thoughts/reasoning behind the parents behaviour in "Deerskin" made alot of sense. Thanks!
I still havent' figures out what that freaky painting was about though....
(2/5/01 5:02:27 pm)
|Me neither ...|
I'm not too sure about that one myself ... Mckinley leaves it as a question to the reader, I think. It seems to me that the queen's obsession with her beauty was transmitted as a contagion to all of those who came in contact with her during her last days, when her obsession reached its most fevered pitch - the subjects of her court (who blame Lissar for her father's incestuous desires), her husband, and the painter who created the portrait. In a way, her spirit - or at least the part of her spirit carrying that malignant desire to continue as a beauty, as a force, a power in the world - came to imbue the portrait as a result, acting as a talisman to maintain her influence, again over court and king, though the artist, at least, escaped. And even he was haunted for the rest of his days, and he only dealt with the image, and not the forceful personality and active mind of the woman herself.
I think that the confrontation at the end kind of supports that - when Lissar confronts the mother-image, Mckinley says that
"two figures shimmered, red and golden, and there was no diferentiating them, except that there were two; as if a mirror stood that no one could see and none therefore knew which was the real woman and which the reflection ... one of the flame woman put out only one hand, while the other reavhed out with both of hers ... the beauty of the one who held out both hands was greater, but that greater beauty was of the kind that stopped hearts, but did not lift them or bring them joy. And it was she who was the more beautiful who was no longer there ...
A reflection and a portrait are very close in nature, and the fact that the crimson figure, the scarey figure, is the one to hold out both hands seems as though it could have two meanings. One, that the spirit of the Queen was hungry for life, and had haunted the edges of life in an attempt to regain what she had lost, regardless of the damage she wrought, and that the confrontation was a battle, its ending a banishment. The other,is that she lingered, and did harm ... but at the last, after hearing her daughter voice her anguish during the confrontation with the father, came to realize her mistake, and her reaching towards her daughter unequivaclly is a sign of her mother's spirit experiencing whatever maternal feelings it had once been capable of. The fact that this scene (the fire-woman's excorcism) is followed by the destruction by fire of the painting that had housed her anger indicates, to me at least, that the vengeful/envious feelings of her mother's spirit towards life and her daughter have either faded or been banished. Exactly which, I'm not sure.
I could be wrong. Just a theory.
(2/5/01 11:38:40 pm)
|Deerskin and paintings...|
Golly, you have really thought about this! Thanks for your theories! (I've been painting so much recently that I think the analytical side of my brain is on sabbatical)
Speaking of 'powerful paintings', have you read Charles de Lint's "Memory and Dream" where the heroine can paint 'true' paintings that 'come to life'? A very interesting thought (especially considering that illustration is what I DO). :-) Her paintings were more benign - though darker things could be 'brought up' as well.... I thought about that book for a long time. Terri's "Wood Wife" had small echos of that same kind of thought...
Here's to true and not-terribly-dangerous art! :-)
(2/6/01 8:26:07 am)
|Artists in Ficition ...|
I've noticed that there is a definite theme of creation in interstitial fiction ... both _Memory and Dream_ and _The Wood Wife_ are great examples of authors exploring the potential reprecussions of creation, for good or ill. Mercedes Lackey deals with the theme a little bit with her Bard Eric character, through the medium of magic, and Paula Volsky approached it in _Illusion_ through a quite cool combination of technological inventiveness and magical automata. I think that it's a natural fear on the part of any creative person that their work might be misused, and it comes through in the work of a lot of artists - particularly in fantasy, where critics constantly blame the actions of real people on the (in all liklihood unrelated) actions of fictional characters. Harry Potter and witchcraft, etc (I love those books, and I know more than a little about Neo-Paganism ... any attempt to connect those books with actual religious practices of any sort - negative or positive - is more of a fiction than Rowling's Muggle-populated reality).
I know what you mean about relating to the magic that the characters can do with their crafts ... I'm a silversmith myself, so I love reading about amulets and talismans and enchanted objects. Unfortunately, authors mining that vein seem to be few and far between ... the only one that I can think of off-hand is Peg Kerr in _Emerald House Rising_, with her gold-smith mage character. Actually, Kerr brings us back full circle with to the topic thread with her _Wild Swans_ , which uses the fairy tale of the seven swans to link two stories, one concerning a "princess" character upon whom the original tale could be based, set in Renaissance England and the early Americas, the other discussing the life of a young man in more-or-less modern day NY, struggling with AIDS. She blends the two threads very lyrically in a discussion of intolerance and redemption.
What kind of illustration do you do? I'd love to hear about/see them.
(2/6/01 8:42:51 am)
Sorry, I meant the medium of*music* when I was talking about the Mercedes Lackey character. Magic on the brain, I suppose ...
(2/7/01 6:37:26 am)
|Re: art in fiction|
Helen, I like your theories about the use of art in magical literature. Sometimes there's a practical reason as well, which is writing about what you know. I'm a painter, many of my friends are artists, and so artists tend to be prominent in my fiction. The characters in Wood Wife, while not being based on any particular individuals, are certainly made of the same stuff as many of the people who are in my daily life. (The true challenge for me would be to write something someday in which there *weren't* any artists, musicians, etc.) The same is true for Charles de Lint. His wife, MaryAnne, is an artist, and many of their friends are artists and musicians. I think it was around the time he was writing "Memory and Dream" that he decided he wanted to learn to paint himself, and he's been doing some lovely little watercolor sketches of his travels ever since. Delia Sherman is currently writing a historical fantasy about artists, and she's another one who has spent her life surrounded by painter friends. And like Charles, she's teaching herself to paint and draw in order to have a better understanding of that more visual mindset. I'm not trying to refute your theories by pointing out this more mundane reason for writing about artists, however, since I think there are layers and layers of meaning in anything a writer writes, some of which we're conscious of while we're doing it, some of which we're not.
Annette, you can find "Recommended Reading Lists" for
both Mythic Fiction and Adult Fairy Tale Fiction on the Endicott
site at this URL: www.endicott-studio.com/booklist.html
It's missing some of the latest publications as it hasn't been updated
in the last few months, but it's a good starting point. There are
also recommended books at the back of the "adult fairy tale"
anthologies published by Avon:
Snow White, Blood Red; Black Heart, Ivory Bones; etc.
Edited by: Terri at: 2/7/01
(2/7/01 10:03:03 am)
Thanks for your interest.
I have been primarily a "children's illustrator" - hugely inspired by childhood-illustrator-heros (see my post under "Lovely Art" for some of them). I originally started out doing educational interactive computer illustration for IBM and other companies. Since the birth of my children, I've gotten more and more traditional. I have done a number of pieces for the chidren's mag market ("Highlights", "Ladybug", "Pockets",etc...) and I've done various things (coloring and activity books, book covers, interior vignettes, scrapbook pages, and a Christmas hardback "The Friendly Beasts") for all different kind of venues. I haven't put together a web page yet, though that is in the workings.
Lately, I've been able to start concentrating on some of my 'own' work. I've been working on a series of Celtic Nature Spirits - the Greenman, Herne the Hunter and a number of spirits from the Celtic tree alphabet. It's been great fun and a departure from my usual fare.
I've dabbled in every craft known, I think, and have done quite a bit of jewelry work - though I haven't gotten to metal working yet. :-) Love silver work though!
What a creative bunch you people all are.
(2/7/01 4:56:53 pm)
|another Deerskin-painting thought|
I just finished reading "The Crock of Gold" by James Stephens and there was one paragraph that might have some bearing on the 'freaky painting' of the mother in "Deerskin".
"I think that beauty tends to become frightful as it becomes perfect and that if we could see it comprehendingly, the extreme of beauty is a desolating hideousness, and that the name of ultimate absolute beauty is Madness...."
It goes on to say that man should court Loveliness instead of 'pure beauty'....
Fits the Deerskin book at any rate...
(2/8/01 6:45:47 am)
Tara, when you get a web site up of your art, let us know!