Synopses & Reviews
Andrew Lang's Fairy Books constitute a twelve-book series of fairy tale collections. Although Andrew Lang did not collect the stories himself from the oral tradition, the extent of his sources, who had collected them originally (with the notable exception of Madame d'Aulnoy), made them an immensely influential collection, especially as he used foreign-language sources, giving many of these tales their first appearance in English. As acknowledged in the prefaces, although Lang himself made most of the selections, his wife and other translators did a large portion of the translating and telling of the actual stories. The irony of Lang's life and work is that although he wrote for a professionliterary criticism; fiction; poems; books and articles on anthropology, mythology, history, and travel...he is best recognized for the works he did not write. Lang's urge to collect and publish fairy tales was rooted in his own experience with the folk and fairy tales of his home territory along the English-Scottish border. When Lang began his efforts, he was fighting against the critics and educationists of the day, who judged the traditional tales' unreality, brutality, and escapism to be harmful for young readers, while holding that such stories were beneath the serious consideration of those of mature age.