The Brown fairy book

by Andrew Lang

Other authorsH. J. Ford
Book, 1904

Status

Available

Call number

FA

Call number

FA

Publication

London : New York : Longmans, Green, and Co., 1904.

Original publication date

1904

Local notes

Andrew Lang's Fairy Books—also known as Andrew Lang's "Coloured" Fairy Books or Andrew Lang's Fairy Books of Many Colors—are a series of twelve collections of fairy tales, published between 1889 and 1910. Each volume is distinguished by its own color. In all, 437 tales from a broad range of cultures and countries are presented.

Subjects

User reviews

LibraryThing member xicanti
A collection of fairy stories and folktales from all over the world.

As far as diversity goes, this is a good collection. Lang has compiled a wonderful assortment of stories from absolutely everywhere. The stories are nicely told, with good pacing and some lovely illustrations that really help capture that late 19th/early 20th century conception of the fairy tale.

However, these retellings are so colonial that I often had trouble even telling where each story was set until I reached the notations at the end. These may be world stories, but they're filtered through a decidedly British worldview. There's little to no local colour or regional feel. The translations all use the same basic voice. I found it frustrating after a while. I think my personal low came when a traditional Native American story contained a description of something that was "as fat as a Christmas turkey." It really made me wonder what else had been changed to conform to the period's conception of non-European cultures.

So this is a decent collection if you're just looking for a bit of fun, and it's a nice piece of nostalgia if you used to read the coloured Fairy Books when you were small. I wouldn't recommend approaching it as a serious cultural study, though, unless you're looking at how cultural biases affect storytelling.
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