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Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers

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As these eleven dark and wild stories demonstrate, fairy tales by Victorian women constitute a distinct literary tradition, one startlingly subversive of the society that fostered it. From Anne Thackeray Ritchie's adaptations of "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood" to Christina Rossetti's unsettling antifantasies in Speaking Likenesses, these are breathtaking acts of imaginat As these eleven dark and wild stories demonstrate, fairy tales by Victorian women constitute a distinct literary tradition, one startlingly subversive of the society that fostered it. From Anne Thackeray Ritchie's adaptations of "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood" to Christina Rossetti's unsettling antifantasies in Speaking Likenesses, these are breathtaking acts of imaginative freedom, by turns amusing, charming, and disturbing. Besides their social and historical implications, they are extraordinary stories, full of strange delights for readers of any age. "Forbidden Journeys is not only a darkly entertaining book to read for the fantasies and anti-fantasies told, but also is a significant contribution to nineteenth-century cultural history, and especially feminist studies."—United Press International "A service to feminists, to Victorian Studies, to children's literature and to children."—Beverly Lyon Clark, Women's Review of Books "These are stories to laugh over, cheer at, celebrate, and wince at. . . . Forbidden Journeys is a welcome reminder that rebellion was still possible, and the editors' intelligent and fascinating commentary reveals ways in which these stories defied the Victorian patriarchy."—Allyson F. McGill, Belles Lettres 


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As these eleven dark and wild stories demonstrate, fairy tales by Victorian women constitute a distinct literary tradition, one startlingly subversive of the society that fostered it. From Anne Thackeray Ritchie's adaptations of "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood" to Christina Rossetti's unsettling antifantasies in Speaking Likenesses, these are breathtaking acts of imaginat As these eleven dark and wild stories demonstrate, fairy tales by Victorian women constitute a distinct literary tradition, one startlingly subversive of the society that fostered it. From Anne Thackeray Ritchie's adaptations of "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood" to Christina Rossetti's unsettling antifantasies in Speaking Likenesses, these are breathtaking acts of imaginative freedom, by turns amusing, charming, and disturbing. Besides their social and historical implications, they are extraordinary stories, full of strange delights for readers of any age. "Forbidden Journeys is not only a darkly entertaining book to read for the fantasies and anti-fantasies told, but also is a significant contribution to nineteenth-century cultural history, and especially feminist studies."—United Press International "A service to feminists, to Victorian Studies, to children's literature and to children."—Beverly Lyon Clark, Women's Review of Books "These are stories to laugh over, cheer at, celebrate, and wince at. . . . Forbidden Journeys is a welcome reminder that rebellion was still possible, and the editors' intelligent and fascinating commentary reveals ways in which these stories defied the Victorian patriarchy."—Allyson F. McGill, Belles Lettres 

30 review for Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mir

    This a collection of fairy and fantasy tales by nineteenth-century women, accompanied by an introductory essay on the genre. It would be a good text for a course on gender or 19th-century lit, but is also perfectly accessible for a casual reader of fairy tales.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Technically speaking, this is really two books - a selection of short stories by Anne Thackeray Ritchie, Christina Rosetti, Mrs. Molesworth, and E. Nesbit and a fantasy novel reprinted in its entirety by Jean Ingellow, Mopsa the Fairy. If Lewis Carroll and/or George MacDonald are the only way you know Victorian children's literature, than this really is a great introduction to the wider world of it. Both MacDonald and Carroll tended to idealize little girls (Carroll moreso, and even he wasn't as Technically speaking, this is really two books - a selection of short stories by Anne Thackeray Ritchie, Christina Rosetti, Mrs. Molesworth, and E. Nesbit and a fantasy novel reprinted in its entirety by Jean Ingellow, Mopsa the Fairy. If Lewis Carroll and/or George MacDonald are the only way you know Victorian children's literature, than this really is a great introduction to the wider world of it. Both MacDonald and Carroll tended to idealize little girls (Carroll moreso, and even he wasn't as guilty of it as Hans Christian Andersen), and these authors do not take that track - instead they write of childhoods more gritty and realistic, even as most of the stories involve retellings of folk or fairy tales or other fantasy elements. The contrast between Mopsa and Jack in Ingellow's novel perhaps shows this best as she grows up much faster than him and must take on responsibilities akin to those girls were expected to do while Jack returns from Fairyland and forgets all, going back to a blissful childhood. These are harsher (especially Rosetti's) than you might expect from the era that brought us the notion that childhood is sacred, but as Mark Twain said, "Sacred cows make the best hamburgers."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chloe H.

    I bought this book because I remembered a few of the stories from my course packet for an undergraduate course on fairy tales and gender, one of my favorites! The stories of Anne Thackeray Ritchie, which are fairy tales retooled as 19th century romantic comedies of manners (reminiscent of Jane Austen) are worth the price of admission. "Speaking Likenesses" by Christina Rossetti, which the editors read as a nihilistic rebuke of Lewis Carol and his myopic romanticizing of female childhood, is also I bought this book because I remembered a few of the stories from my course packet for an undergraduate course on fairy tales and gender, one of my favorites! The stories of Anne Thackeray Ritchie, which are fairy tales retooled as 19th century romantic comedies of manners (reminiscent of Jane Austen) are worth the price of admission. "Speaking Likenesses" by Christina Rossetti, which the editors read as a nihilistic rebuke of Lewis Carol and his myopic romanticizing of female childhood, is also stunning. There are some other great stories in here by Frances Hodgson Burnett and others as well. Unfortunately the longest piece in the anthology ("Mopsa the Fairy" by Jean Ingelow, almost a novella) was tiresome and pointless. I did feel that the editors were a little overzealous in some of their interpretations, but that's part of the fun of literary criticism I guess. These stories are remarkable and difficult to find elsewhere, so this book is a gem.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amy Lee

    A wonderful collection, coupled with insightful commentaries by the editors on all the stories.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Madly Jane

    Love this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Perkins

    The essays by the editors were far more engaging than the bulk of the stories. A few stories were original and enchanting, but sadly, most of them were 'reworkings' of older tales that the Victorian era writers just modernized to their society.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Xuyixu

    fantastic

  8. 4 out of 5

    Aiden

  9. 4 out of 5

    Riddhi

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  11. 5 out of 5

    Isis

  12. 4 out of 5

    Casey

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bob

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Corwin

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Wulff

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mary Mccary

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mariah

  18. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  19. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aurora

  21. 5 out of 5

    Pauline

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rose-Mary

  23. 4 out of 5

    Angie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Knosp

  25. 4 out of 5

    Debra Jarvis

  26. 4 out of 5

    K-K

  27. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marcy Wilson

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

  30. 4 out of 5

    Christina

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