Spells of Enchantment Paperback – 10 Dec 1992
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About the Author
The Marvel and Other Short Stories is a collected anthology of six short stories written by the winners of the Austin Macauley World Book Day short story competition.
Jack Zipes is professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota and the author, translator, and editor of dozens of studies and collections of folk and fairy tales. His recent books include "Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre", "Relentless Progress: The Reconfiguration of Children s Literature, Fairy Tales, and Storytelling", and "The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films".
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Readers will find well known tales like "Sleeping Beauty" and "Rumpelstiltskin," but also some lesser known gems like "The Seven Wives of Bluebeard" and "Spiegel the Cat." This collection is a great way to get a young fantasy fan to enjoy the work of classical authors that may have a stigma attached to them (I have to read that for school!) Readers should note that the language of the tales has been altered to the vernacular. So, Cupid and Psyche is told in a straightforward manner without the archaic structures used by the original author. Purists may gasp at the audacity, but new readers will be grateful for the translation! The tone and heart of the stories remain intact. This is a huge work with something nearly everyone can enjoy. Overall, a very well done anthology that is more than worth the price of admission.
Jack Zipes is a Professor of German and it's the German Romantic tales here that please me the most: Novalis' "Hyacinth and Roseblossom", the epitome of Romantic swooning, E.T.A. Hoffmann's haunting "Mines of Falun", and Theodor Storm's extraordinary parable "Hinzelmeier", which I had never read or heard of until I found it here.
As we get into the 20th century the conventions remain but the tone changes. Satire, irony, existential questioning and altered angles of vision replace old-fashioned magic. But every story here is well worth reading and many would be next to impossible to find elsewhere. A few old favourites are included, and some of these stories could be read to children, but on the whole the book is aimed at adults who have kept an appetite for wonder.
I completely, utterly and diametrically disagree with the view of the Wonder-Tale that Zipes expresses in his Introduction, but that scarcely matters. (If it starts to aggravate me seriously I can always cut it out with a stationery-knife and a ruler.) This book is a classic, in a class of its own, and you should buy it if you have the slightest weakness for such stories. Still better, buy it for any wonder-tale enthusiast you may know: it can't fail to please.