Review by Kirkus Book Review
In this quite enchanting collection the Opies have assembled the earliest texts available in English of some 24 of the best known and loved fairy tales of all time including the adventures of Tom Thumb, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, Little Red Ridinghood, Rumpelstiltskin, Cinderella, Snow White and The Princess and The Pea. Many are reproduced here from very rare early editions dating back to the 18th century, though the Opies point out that in Italy and France several of these stories were already in print by the 16th and 17th centuries, and folklorists will vouch for the fact that some, like Cinderella, go back at least a thousand years in oral tradition. For each the Opies provide a history and a brief discussion of its theme and the magical elements which it incorporates, pointing out that most of the fables in their earliest versions are very far from the popular conception of them. Enactments of dream-wishes are rare and though dragons are slain, spells broken and beautiful princesses won, the ""wonderful"" generally happens when obstacles are boldly faced and poverty or ugliness (or, more commonly, the illusion of poverty and ugliness) are accepted as being of no consequence. The authors make light of most of the abstruse psycho-social theories which have been used to analyze and interpret the inner meanings of fairy tales and advance the somewhat daring notion that throughout history they have been told for ""wonder and entertainment."" With a splendid collection of illustrations showing how these classics have been depicted and imagined at different periods. A delight. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Descriptive content provided by Syndetics™, a Bowker service.