As readers enjoy Enchanted, they're exposed to dozens of fairy tale-inspired plot points, some of which are instantly recognizable while others are less familiar. For readers who are inspired to go back to the source of these stories, there are few better resources for fairy tales of all sorts than Andrew Lang's famous Fairy Books.
Andrew Lang was a novelist, critic, and anthropologist born in Scotland in 1844 and is now chiefly known for his Fairy Books. Twelve of these books - each of which is known by the color of its jacket - were published between 1889 and 1910, collecting 437 stories altogether. Some of the volumes, such as the Blue Fairy Book and Red Fairy Book, include familiar favorites from Grimm, Andersen, and Perrault such as "Rumplestiltskin" and "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." Others included tales that were translated specifically for the Lang collections, more obscure tales that had never previously appeared in English.
In Children's Books and Their Creators, Anita Silvey notes that many of the heroines in Lang's fairy tale adaptations feature strong and active heroines, a fact that Lang attributed to his wife, who was responsible for revising and translating many of the stories. Although unlike the Grimm brothers, Lang was not an original collector of folk and fairy tales - i.e. he did not listen to and record tales being told for the first time - he can be credited with anthologizing a variety of stories and disseminating them widely in a form that is eminently readable and enjoyable, in prose that still seems lively today and in volumes that are in print more than a hundred years after their original publication.
Click on the links below for more information on each book:
Blue Fairy Book (1889)
Red Fairy Book (1890)
Green Fairy Book (1892)
Yellow Fairy Book (1894)
Pink Fairy Book (1897)
Grey Fairy Book (1900)
Violet Fairy Book (1901)
Crimson Fairy Book (1903)
Brown Fairy Book (1904)
Orange Fairy Book (1906)
Olive Fairy Book (1907)
Lilac Fairy Book (1910)
This article was originally published in May 2012, and has been updated for the
May 2013 paperback release.
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