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Spells of Enchantment: The Wondrous Fairy Tales of Western Culture

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"Spells of Enchantment" brings together the best literary fairy tales ever written, arranged to provide a sense of the history and evolution of this ancient genre. Focusing on the work of the most gifted writers of the great Western literary movements from classical times to the present, Jack Zipes's collection shows how some of literature's most creative minds have tried "Spells of Enchantment" brings together the best literary fairy tales ever written, arranged to provide a sense of the history and evolution of this ancient genre. Focusing on the work of the most gifted writers of the great Western literary movements from classical times to the present, Jack Zipes's collection shows how some of literature's most creative minds have tried their hand at mixing the magic ingredients of the fairy tale - and how the genre has been marvelously transformed according to each writer's particular genius.Including more than sixty tales by such master practitioners of the art as Perrault, Voltaire, Goethe, Hoffmann, Hawthorne, Wilde, Yeats, Hesse, Thurber, Calvino, Philip K. Dick, Robert Coover, and Angela Carter, this authoritative, original, and unique volume is sure to bewitch readers of all ages.


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"Spells of Enchantment" brings together the best literary fairy tales ever written, arranged to provide a sense of the history and evolution of this ancient genre. Focusing on the work of the most gifted writers of the great Western literary movements from classical times to the present, Jack Zipes's collection shows how some of literature's most creative minds have tried "Spells of Enchantment" brings together the best literary fairy tales ever written, arranged to provide a sense of the history and evolution of this ancient genre. Focusing on the work of the most gifted writers of the great Western literary movements from classical times to the present, Jack Zipes's collection shows how some of literature's most creative minds have tried their hand at mixing the magic ingredients of the fairy tale - and how the genre has been marvelously transformed according to each writer's particular genius.Including more than sixty tales by such master practitioners of the art as Perrault, Voltaire, Goethe, Hoffmann, Hawthorne, Wilde, Yeats, Hesse, Thurber, Calvino, Philip K. Dick, Robert Coover, and Angela Carter, this authoritative, original, and unique volume is sure to bewitch readers of all ages.

30 review for Spells of Enchantment: The Wondrous Fairy Tales of Western Culture

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    A wonderful book that traces the development of the literary fairy tale. Zipes includes famous authors, such as Wilde and the Grimms, but he also includes less well known stories. The stories range in style, some are funny, some are dark. Most, however, are just plain good. I first read this when I was a freshman in college, and it turned me on to author's I had not read before. I have also used this in reading classes, and the students (even the males) enjoyed it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Adriana

    I was given this amazing compendium as a child, and it resurfaced from a box in storage... forever on my bookshelf henceforth!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Robert Costic

    I have read many fairy tale collections and this is the best. At almost 800 pages -- just holding the physical book was an undertaking -- it covers a huge number of tales, spanning from ancient Rome to the late 1980s. It features tales written by well-known writers like H.C. Andersen and the Brothers Grimm; tales by authors known in their countries but not necessarily in the United States; and tales that appear translated into English only in this book. With such a huge selection of tales it's i I have read many fairy tale collections and this is the best. At almost 800 pages -- just holding the physical book was an undertaking -- it covers a huge number of tales, spanning from ancient Rome to the late 1980s. It features tales written by well-known writers like H.C. Andersen and the Brothers Grimm; tales by authors known in their countries but not necessarily in the United States; and tales that appear translated into English only in this book. With such a huge selection of tales it's inevitable that not all of them will be to each person's tastes, and I did find myself skipping some after finding them plodding; but more often than not I found myself amazed at having discovered another fantastic author, and by introducing me to so many great writers it has helped me to vastly expand my fairy tale reading list.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Ann

    From oral tales to written tales, the genre of Fairy tales suggest wonder, magic, enchantments...re-creations. This anthology of tales written for adults will amaze and entertain you. Zipes writes an enlightening introduction that includes information on the elements of a wonder tale, the development of the genre, and how he decided to include the the works in this volume.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Kendall

    the evolution of fairy tales. starts with greek myth and continues to fairy tales of the middle ages and the age of enlightenment and on into modern fairy tales. (some really good voltaire and thackery)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    It is quite the colloection, but if you read it straight through some of the stories feel repetitive because they are after all related.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hayden Chance

    Still one of the best collections of fairy tales out there.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    First Quarter review. Having been an Anthropology major, once upon a time, and always having been interested in folklore, a big collection of Western Fairy Tales like this is pretty irresistible. It's also pretty enormous - 800 odd pages, so I've decided the only way to make this work (both with my reading schedule, inter-library loan, and an attempt to avoid burn-out) is to read it in quarters, 200 pages at a time. The introduction to this collection is fascinating, as Zipes traces what we think First Quarter review. Having been an Anthropology major, once upon a time, and always having been interested in folklore, a big collection of Western Fairy Tales like this is pretty irresistible. It's also pretty enormous - 800 odd pages, so I've decided the only way to make this work (both with my reading schedule, inter-library loan, and an attempt to avoid burn-out) is to read it in quarters, 200 pages at a time. The introduction to this collection is fascinating, as Zipes traces what we think of as the "literary fairy tale" (that is to say, the written form) back to its origin, as transcribed oral storytelling tradition of a specific type - the "wonder" folktale (Marveilleux/Zaubermarchen) (as opposed to, say, the legend, fable, anecdote or myth) whose purpose is to instill "awe" and "wonder" in the listener, to alter their view of the world and preserve hope of change through direct action and a belief in the marvelous. In the 15th/16th century Italy, these get transcribed/appropriated from the peasant class oral tradition and included (with many other types of tales) in collections for the aristocracy/wealthy landowners (the only ones who can read) - interestingly, almost from the start, the fairy tale is recursive and self-referential, commenting on previous knowledge of the storyform from oral tradition. In 17th & 18th Century France, the form blooms and perpetuates (it stagnates in England thanks to the Puritan dislike of amusement!), where the tales are used to illustrate and reinforce civility/correct behavior and the accepted social norms of the upper classes. Thus, the sense of wonder is deliberately linked to "the civilizing process" - "fairies" are chosen as widely known magical beings (coded female) representative of the author's/mankind's imagination (and, very pointedly, *not* God, Gods, Angels, The Church or Saints) as source of this "wonder", projected into a Utopian setting ("Once Upon A Time...") and so has a subversive aspect as well (perpetuating imagery and paganistic ideas The Church tried to stamp out) in a new form. The absorption of the translated Arabian Nights allows a distant/orientalist setting in which to place discussions and critiques of current court politics and standards. In the 18th Century - cheap publishing allows colporteurs (traveling peddlers) to disseminate these codified forms all over Europe, increasing their didactic function (they are read to the children and non-literate) while also being read by oral storytellers of the time, thus reintegrated into the oral storytelling tradition (so from oral to lit and back to oral). When the teachers of the Dauphin (and the governesses/nannies of aristocracy), adopt the idea of using the stories as moral instructions, lessons and cautionary tales for their charges, by the 18th Century this gets picked up by mothers of all classes in general (from the cheap books for the literate or the oral tradition for the non-literate) and begins the traditional role of fairy-tales that we associate with the form. As I left off the Introduction, the French fairy-tale was about to influence the German oral tradition... As might be expected, I didn't dig everything here. A hallmark of fairy tales is their rigid structure, and yet within that structure some of these wander all over the map in their pacing (Giambattista Basile's "The Merchant's Two Sons" and "Ricdin-Ricdon", Marie-Jeanne L'Héritier De Villandon's version of Rumpelstilskin, seem to go on forever) or are too didactic ("Of Feminine Subtlety", from the GESTA ROMANORIM, has its heroic Christian hero inflict leprosy on his thieving wife). Lucius Apuleius's "Cupid And Psyche" starts the book as a strong, obvious example of the step from Greek myth in which the Gods seem trapped in a fairy tale. There's a marvelous bit where where Psyche uses a lamp to illuminate her invisible and unidentified husband (Cupid) whom she plans to kill, but when the light exposes him, the lamp flares up (because everything in the world loves Cupid, the God of love!) - and her knife turns aside in shame at the intent to harm him!. Some others are fairly straightforward and familiar ("Parslinette" is Rapunzel) or quirky (Jean-Jacques Rousseau's "The Queen Fantasque" has a very kooky queen and her long-suffering husband dealing with twins gifted by the fairies - it also has some ironic near-snarky meta-comments about fairy-tales that break in on occasion). Antoine Galland's "Prince Ahmed And The Fairy Pari-Banou" is also a bit long-winded but fun for both its Orientalist touches and its surprisingly violent ending (don't push a fairy too far or you and your royal council may end up beaten to death!), a trait it shares with the strange and disturbing "The Pig Prince" by Giovanni Straparola, where the titular beast-man kills his first two wives but is still the hero! Voltaire's "The White Bull", meanwhile, folds Biblical characters (The Witch of Endor, The Serpent Of Eden, etc.) into a somewhat convoluted illustration of his Enlightenment attacks on the Church. I most enjoyed "Green Serpent" by Marie-Catharine d'Aulnoy, where a Princess blessed with Intelligence but cursed with Ugliness travels to a far island populated by puppet people (Pagods) and ruled by an Invisible King (the Pagods even bring the Princess a copy of "Cupid & Psyche" to study!). The King woos her as their arch enemy, the puppet fairy Magotine, plots against her. This story also features an interesting idea where the good fairies cannot undo the malicious fairy's curse so instead opt to gift her with "eventual happiness" thus ensuring she will suffer travails and tests but will come out better in the end. And that's it for now. When I pick it up again, I'll finally reach the German tales, which are my favorite!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tristy

    At 814 pages, this is quite the compendium. Jack Zipes is THE researcher of folk lore and fairy tales (after C.G. Jung and Joseph Campbell, of course). As with all collections of stories written by different authors, this collection is a mixed bag and unfortunately, more bad than good. While it's fascinating to read fairy tales written by famous authors like Oscar Wilde and Hermann Hesse, there really wasn't a thread to tie them all together. They are listed in chronological order, so the storie At 814 pages, this is quite the compendium. Jack Zipes is THE researcher of folk lore and fairy tales (after C.G. Jung and Joseph Campbell, of course). As with all collections of stories written by different authors, this collection is a mixed bag and unfortunately, more bad than good. While it's fascinating to read fairy tales written by famous authors like Oscar Wilde and Hermann Hesse, there really wasn't a thread to tie them all together. They are listed in chronological order, so the stories bounce all over the place in style and tone - it was difficult to find my bearings in this vast sea of stories. But kudos to Jack Zipes for compiling such a thorough collection!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ann M

    manages to be kind of dry, but still interesting

  11. 4 out of 5

    Christiane

    The reader goes through a journey of wonder. So far I have read one fairy tale and I am walking on clouds. I love it!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lavender

    A ton of great short stories and fairy tales. Some are quite long and others are just a page or 2.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Monica Davis

    The marketing blurb states that this is a "comprehensive anthology of literary fairy tales, which were written explicitly for adults, in English...the best tales of this ancient tradition". (Literary meaning those in the written form.) I was a bit disappointed that, from the thousands of tales that fit this category, the author chose to feature many "ordinary" tales and left out some truly "extraordinary" ones. Albeit subjective, the stories overall are an interesting lesson in historical perspe The marketing blurb states that this is a "comprehensive anthology of literary fairy tales, which were written explicitly for adults, in English...the best tales of this ancient tradition". (Literary meaning those in the written form.) I was a bit disappointed that, from the thousands of tales that fit this category, the author chose to feature many "ordinary" tales and left out some truly "extraordinary" ones. Albeit subjective, the stories overall are an interesting lesson in historical perspective. The author's Introduction, in which he discusses the evolution of fairy tales is quite good.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Philip Chaston

    Very enjoyable. Not for those who balk at 700 pages in a book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Finally finished this after a couple years. It will have been the last book I read to my son at bedtime. Adolescence brooks no such ritual, and I'll keep telling myself that's ok until I believe it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Byczek

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susan Mansfield

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mr. David

  20. 5 out of 5

    Passerine

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dojna Shearer

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Disneyq

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Takethestep

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jill

  26. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jolene

  28. 4 out of 5

    Islam Dudaev

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  30. 4 out of 5

    Samantha Lake

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