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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Re-tellings and Modern Versions of Fairy Tales

Ann and Booklogged have mentioned more versions of Rapunzel, and I thought this would make an interesting digressive path for the Once Upon a Time Challenge.

Some Rapunzel re-tellings or analogues:

The Tower Room - Adele Geras
Letters from Rapunzel - Sara Lewis Holmes
Golden - Cameron Dokey
Zel by Donna Jo Napoli
Rapunzel's Revenge - Shannon Hale (due out in August)
Rapunzel's Revenge: More Fairy Tales for Feminists - Mairin Johnston, Joni Crone, Anne Killeen
"Rapunzel's Revenge" - Brendan DuBois (short story in Once Upon a Crime collection-modern re-tellings of fairy tales by different authors)
"Dame Nigran's Tower" Louise Hawes (in her collection Black Pearls: A Faeiry Strand, not yet released)
Sugar Cane: A Carribean Rapunzel - Patricia Storace and Raul Colon

It would be fun to examine re-tellings of Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, etc.

I have a meeting to attend, so I'd better go ahead and get ready, but I also want to discuss nonfiction books about fairy tales, so maybe I'll have a chance later.

Click here if you are interested in this week's Give-Away.


  1. Gregory Maguire has great retelling of Cinderella called "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister". Also, digging back there is a Cinderella/Pied Piper retelling called "The Coachman Rat" which I loved, but it's very, very dark. I don't think it's available anymore outside of used bookstores.


  2. Hi Jen,
    I love fairytale re-tellings! I've read Golden, but I didn't relly enjoy it.
    However, I did read The Night Dance which is a retelling of The 12 Dancing Princesses, and LOVED it! :)

    Lezlie - Oh, I've read Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. :) But I don't think it's for me.

  3. I had no idea that there were so many retellings of fairy tales. I just recently read The Book of Lost Things which contains quite a few allusions to fairy tales. It was really quite good. Lezlie and Bunny, I've read Wicked and really liked it. I have Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, as well as Mirror, Mirror, but haven't read either one of them, yet.

  4. Lezlie - I still haven't read Confessions, but I need to. The Coachman Rat sounds intriguing!

    Bunny - Even when I don't like the re-tellings, I enjoy being able to compare and contrast the different versions.

    Lisa - Oh, yes, The Book of Lost Things is a great spin-off on several fairy tales in conjunction with the main story!

  5. A few favourite retellings of mine:

    Beauty by Robin McKinley (Beauty and the Beast)

    The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett (a loose retelling of Pied Piper)

    I Was a Rat! by Philip Pullman (I want to say which fairy tale it is, but it's a spoiler! You only find out at the end)

    The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (although I only read it last week, it's safe to call it a favourite)

    As for non-fiction, have you read Marina Warner's From the Beast to the Blonde? It's probably the best book on fairy tales I have ever read.

  6. You must try Sleeping in Flame by Jonathan Carroll. Again, I don't want to say which fairytale it's based on, it wouldn't spoil it but it's a very special book indeed.

    Bettelheim's The Uses of Enchantment is an excellent one for non-fiction, though I've probably spelt his name wrong...

  7. Nymeth - I've read good things about Beauty and will look for it.

    I loved The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents!

    No, I haven't read Warner's book, but will add it to my list. Thanks, Nymeth for the recommendations.

    Stormfilled - More to add to the list! My post this morning has a link to an essay (not Bettelheim's) titled "The Uses of Enchantment."
    Bettelheim's book, however, is already on my list from last year; I just haven't gotten around to getting my copy yet. Thanks for nudging me in that direction.

  8. As you pursue retellings of fairy tales, I highly encourage you to read Terri Windlings' excellent articles on various fairy tales. You can find the whole list here (Terri's are at the end of the Fairy Tales list):

    The one about Rapunzel is here:

    I love her essays.

  9. Thanks, Carl! although I have read several of Terri Windling's essays and articles, I had not read this one. I love the way this essay gives the background on the various versions of the tale, moves through the modern readings of the story, and gives an excellent list for further reading!

  10. Lisa, there are soooo many re-tellings of fairy tales, I wish I could read them all!

    Nymeth - Since you're calling Goose Girl a fave, I'm def gonna check out the other books you've recommended! :)

  11. I LOVE fairy tales. This challenge sounds like fun. I'm definitely going to check that out as well : )

    Again, nice to "meet" you,