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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

ALICE ADAMS

The Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood in the Coffin House

It is odd, I think: one's tendency to locate the imaginative literature that one reads in one's own known, familiar sites. (Or am I the only one who does this? Come to think of it, I've never mentioned this habit to another person.) In any case, for me, both The Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood take place in a neighborhood shack that we all, as children, called the coffin house. As much of D. H. Lawrence happened in a boathouse in Maine, but that was much later on, and not really a part of this story.

The coffin house, then, was a garage-like structure some distance off in the woods (I should note that I am speaking of the thirties, in the very rural countryside that surrounded the very small, at that time, town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina). Our neighborhood of pleasant faculty houses was out in this countryside. This fact of its being out in the woods of course lent validity to my situating such stories there; both Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood would indeed have to walk through woods to get to the coffin house.

Actually in this storage shed there were the wooden plank cases in which coffins were transported; I cannot now imagine how we children had come by this fact, and, as I think of it, I wonder if it was even true. But we called it the coffin house, and we convinced ourselves that all those tall, upright boxes were coffins, and we also believed that the various bits of trash we found around that house were the leavings of the dead: an occasional magazine, a candy wrapper (He must have been eating this candy bar when he died ) or a half-smoked cigarette. Going to the coffin house was always a good adventure; anything at all might be there. I suppose the ultimate hope was of finding a dead person, somehow left behind from the funeral rites.

When I thought of Goldilocks arriving at this house, I imagined that the cases had been pushed aside and indeed thinned out to make room for the table at which the Three Bears had been eating--at which Goldilocks found the porridge of the Little Bear so delicious. I believe that I added an upstairs room for the sake of the beds. However, when I came to Little Red Riding Hood, I placed the Grandmother's bed squarely out among the coffin boxes, their looming, shadowy presences as frightening as the grotesque face of the Grandmother-wolf.

Both of these stories can be viewed as cautionary: Do not go off into the woods, and especially not by yourself--and, certainly, do not go to a house where coffins are stored, where you might just possibly find a dead body.

None of us ever mentioned the coffin house to our parents, I believe for two reasons: one, that we would be forbidden to go there; and two, that we would be exposed as credulous, and told, Of course those aren't real coffins, they're just big empty boxes. It was infinitely preferable to cling to our myth, our titillating terror.

The worst possible crime available to a child, back then, was to run away from home. This was always a thrilling possibility--no wonder we were so frequently warned against any version thereof, like walking off into the woods by yourself. I, of course, a rebellious and in many ways discontented child who longed for a change of scene--I was enthralled by the notion of running away. But I w

Synopsis:

ALICE ADAMS

The Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood in the Coffin House

It is odd, I think: one's tendency to locate the imaginative literature that one reads in one's own known, familiar sites. (Or am I the only one who does this? Come t

Synopsis:

New edition (revised and expanded) available 8/13/02.

Fairy tales are one of the most enduring forms of literature, their plots retold and characters reimagined for centuries.In this elegant and thought-provoking collection of original essays, Kate Bernheimer brings together twenty-eight leading women writers to discuss how these stories helped shape their imaginations, their craft, and ourculture. In poetic narratives, personal histories, and penetrating commentary, the assembled authors bare their soul and challenge received wisdom. Eclectic and wide-ranging, "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall"is essential reading for anyone who has ever been bewitched by the strange and fanciful realm of fairy tales.

Contributors include: Alice Adams, Julia Alvarez, Margaret Atwood, Ann Beattie, RosellenBrown, A. S. Byatt, Kathryn Davis, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Deborah Eisenberg, Maria Flook, Patricia Foster, Vivian Gornick, Lucy Grealy, bell hooks, Fanny Howe, Fern Kupfer, Ursula K. Le Guin, Carole Maso, Jane Miller, Lydia Millet, Joyce Carol Oates, Connie Porter, Francine Prose, Linda Gray Sexton, Midori Snyder, Fay Weldon, Joy Williams, Terri Windling.

"From the Trade Paperback edition."

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307874528
Subtitle:
Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Editor:
Bernheimer, Kate
Subject:
Fiction : Fairy Tales, Folklore & Mythology
Subject:
Literary Criticism : Women Authors
Subject:
Social Science : Women's Studies - General
Subject:
Literary Criticism : American - General
Subject:
Fiction : Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
Publication Date:
20100421
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
400

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Humanities » Mythology » Folklore and Storytelling

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales
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Product details 400 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9780307874528 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , ALICE ADAMS

The Three Bears and Little Red Riding Hood in the Coffin House

It is odd, I think: one's tendency to locate the imaginative literature that one reads in one's own known, familiar sites. (Or am I the only one who does this? Come t

"Synopsis" by , New edition (revised and expanded) available 8/13/02.

Fairy tales are one of the most enduring forms of literature, their plots retold and characters reimagined for centuries.In this elegant and thought-provoking collection of original essays, Kate Bernheimer brings together twenty-eight leading women writers to discuss how these stories helped shape their imaginations, their craft, and ourculture. In poetic narratives, personal histories, and penetrating commentary, the assembled authors bare their soul and challenge received wisdom. Eclectic and wide-ranging, "Mirror, Mirror on the Wall"is essential reading for anyone who has ever been bewitched by the strange and fanciful realm of fairy tales.

Contributors include: Alice Adams, Julia Alvarez, Margaret Atwood, Ann Beattie, RosellenBrown, A. S. Byatt, Kathryn Davis, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Deborah Eisenberg, Maria Flook, Patricia Foster, Vivian Gornick, Lucy Grealy, bell hooks, Fanny Howe, Fern Kupfer, Ursula K. Le Guin, Carole Maso, Jane Miller, Lydia Millet, Joyce Carol Oates, Connie Porter, Francine Prose, Linda Gray Sexton, Midori Snyder, Fay Weldon, Joy Williams, Terri Windling.

"From the Trade Paperback edition."

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