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The Fairy Tale:  The Magic Mirror of the Imagination

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The Fairy Tale: The Magic Mirror of the Imagination

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Author: Steven Swann Jones
Publisher: Routledge, 2002
Twayne Publishers, 1995
Series: Studies in Literary Themes and Genres: Book 5
Book Type: Non-Fiction
Genre: Fantasy
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In The Fairy Tale: The Magic Mirror of Imagination, Steven Swann Jones draws upon his extensive knowledge of the genre to provide readers with a study that is at once a sorely needed introduction to the subject and an original contribution to existing scholarship.

Step by step, Jones guides the reader in understanding and appreciating the genre's origins and its evolution over the past 3,000 years; synthesizes the various approaches - psychological, sociohistorical, and formalist taken by scholars studying the form; and isolates five key characteristics distinguishing the fairy tale from related forms of folk narrative, such as myths and legends.

A series of close readings of selected old and new fairy tales - among them The Wizard of Oz and The Cat in the Hat - serve to illuminate these characteristics for readers, while chapters on the gendering of fairy tale protagonists and other topics stimulate readers to consider fairy tales from new and multifaceted perspectives.

Complemented by a chronology detailing fairy tales from Boccaccio's The Decameron to Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, as well as a reflective bibliographic essay and a valuable list of recommended readings, The Fairy Tale: The Magic Mirror of Imagination is a comprehensive handbook for students from secondary through graduate levels, a one-of-a-kind reference for scholars, and an engaging overview for any interested reader.


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