The light princess: And other fairy tales
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The Victorians were seriously insane about fairies, and it penetrated their literature, art, music, theatre, dance etc. However, this scattered collection is more in the area of today's fantasy stories, rather than "fairy tales." Some of the pieces are stories-within-a-story from a naturalistic (I think) novel for adults called "Adela Cathcart." Some are descriptions of characters' dreams from the children's fantasy novel "At The Back Of The North Wind". Two are standalone children's stories: "Cross Purposes" and "The Golden Key."
Three are full-length fantasy novellas, and I don't think they were really written for children. I loved the three novellas the most. "The Carasoyn" is about a rescue of a human child stolen by wicked fairies, and has that atmosphere of a time when people really believed in fairy changelings. "The Wise Woman, or The Lost Princess" is a morality tale, about a spoiled little princess and a spoiled little shepherd girl who are both kidnapped by a wise sorceress so that she can improve their behaviour - and it is a wee bit preachy - but told with such cheeky humour that I did not mind. "Photogen and Nycteris" almost borders on science fiction. A witch obtains two babies, and brings the boy up in sunlight without ever seeing the night or darkness, and the girl up underground, without ever seeing the day. Then they escape, and find each other.
MacDonald has a dreamy, lyrical, atmospheric writing style, and I can really see the influence on C.S. Lewis's work.
You can tell these stories were part of the fabric of Tolkein and CS Lewis' childhood and had a hand in hairy toes on the silver screen!
which is NOT "The Complete Fairy Tales (Penguin Classics)", despite Amazon conflating the two.
This edition is a terrible scan of the stories. There are multiple mistakes on every single page, making it completely unreadable.
Even the very first word of the very first story is missing the very first letter.
I'm returning my copy, I suggest you don't buy it.
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