Wonder Tales: Six Stories of Enchantment

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These are passionate, extraordinary, and occasionally proto-feminist retellings of classic fairy stories by women who ingeniously used the fairy tale genre to comment on their own times and experiences. The stories are all in superb new translations by celebrated writers, including A.

Byatt, Gilbert Adair and John Ashbery. With a brilliant intorduction by Marina Warner, recognised as one of our greatest experts on myth and fairy tale. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Learn more about Amazon Prime. Read more Read less. Prime Book Box for Kids.

Wonder Tales, Six Stories of Enchantment by Marina Warner

Non Basic Stock Line Language: Be the first to review this item Amazon Best Sellers Rank: But, fortunately, they almost always punish those who deserve it: Tyrants, seducers, and other forces of malevolence. Heroes and heroines are put to mischievous tests, and their quest for love is confounded when their objects of desire change into beasts or monsters.

Still, true understanding and recognition of the person beneath the spell wins in the end, for after wonder comes consolation, and after strange setbacks comes a happy ending. In Wonder Tales , a magical world awaits all who dare to enter. Wonders can be benign like the garden fruits that come when you whistle or baneful like the bad fairy Magotine's spells , producing dread and desire at the same time. Marina Warner is a writer of fiction, criticism, and history.

This seems to involve a lot of chess and hunting. I'm not sure this is a royal thing so much as a cat thing, but at one point the White Cat stages a naval battle between her cat courtiers and the rats. The rats have the advantage at first because they can swim , but the cats eventually get the upper hand at which point the White Cat calls the battle to end. Her logic is that if the cats kill all the mice, they will have nothing do and get restive.

This is all just a very long framing story for the real tale. Eventually, the thing the prince needs to fetch is a wife. Now, because the prince is Good, when the White Cat says, "Hey man, I want you to murder the hell out of me" he does it. The Cat is revealed to be Actually a Princess. Apparently, her mom, a human queen and a richer one than the prince's never mentioned mom, liked to travel.


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One day she was in the hinterlands and heard about some fairy place with very good fruit. She was seized with a craving for it and tried to get it, but she couldn't figure out how to enter the garden. OBVIOUSLY this fairy fruit has put the magic disease in her brain and body because there is no way a pregnant woman is going to eat nothing for six weeks and also not, uh, die. Nevertheless, because she accepts the fairies' offer of fruit for unborn baby she figured if she didn't get the fruit she'd die anyway , she is the one who gets blamed at the very end of the tale for screwing up.

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The baby gets turned eventually into the White Cat because she tried to pull a Rapunzel and got caught. So, there were a lot of places where this story could have gone weird and wonderful, but ultimately, here's what the author suggests are the takeaways for us emphasis mine: This young prince was lucky indeed To find in a cat's guise an august princess Whom he would later marry, and accede To three thrones and a world of tenderness.

When two enchanting eyes are inclined To inspire love, they seldom find resistance, [lol -- ed. I'll speak no more of the unworthy mother Who caused the White Cat so many sorrows By coveting the fruit of another, Thus ceding her daughter to the fairies' powers. Mothers, who have children full of charm, Despise her conduct, and keep them from all harm. An ensorcled woman is blamed for all the problems and that is the moral, I guess.

Wonder Tales

I'm sure these stories are great, and I really did enjoy imagining the palace because I am a fool for gemstones and butterfly wings but it's not what I need right now. But I am enjoying the story about a dude who's nose fell off.


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  4. Jan 18, Rachel rated it liked it Recommends it for: This is NOT a bad book, but it's not as easy as others make it out to be. Most people will pick up a "fairy tale" book because they have kids or want an easy read. Most kids will be bored by this book. The stories are long winded and can take awhile to get to the point. That doesn't mean they are bad. They're actually really enjoyable stories. You just have to be prepared to spend some time reading them.

    Now to the point Wonder Tales is a collection of "fairy" tales told in This is NOT a bad book, but it's not as easy as others make it out to be. Wonder Tales is a collection of "fairy" tales told in the french court. They called them "wonder tales" in france because not all stories involved fairies.

    I actually liked this aspect. I've read numerous "fairy tales" and find the label quit limiting. Folk tales, tall tales, wonder tales, fables.. You get the picture. The labels just depend on the region. These wonder tales are a blend of famous fairy tale tropes.

    Each carries out a little aspect of french society. It's easy to imagine a group of people spending the afternoon together reciting one of these stories. The stories would be enjoyable to both fairy tale enthusiasts and history buffs. But again, I do think children will be bored by these stories. There are also some elements that parents may not want their children exposed to. Aug 05, Ania Gaska rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is a collection of fairy tales that were told to adults and meant for adults. My favorite tale in the collection tells the story of a boy who was raised as a girl because his mother did not want him to die in battle like his father.

    She is happy as a girl and finds the perfect partner in the end!


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    Dec 14, Amanda Evans rated it it was ok. Oct 10, Kate rated it really liked it. I have to say I was happy to purchase this book. I read some fairy tales or here they are wonder tales that I've never heard of before. They also pushed the boundaries. Thus proving that before many were sanitized, fairy tales held heavier adult themes for both entertainment and warnings. I rated them separately per tale as follows: There coul I have to say I was happy to purchase this book.

    There could have been a little more examples, as well as humorous bits. This included more on the cat's back story at the near end maybe too much. But with so much detail throughout, I felt less surprise build-up for the ending.

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    But this could be biased, since I did read other translations. Also I am not sure which is more authentic now of the 3 versions I've read 1. Dealt with leisure, 2. Dealt with a fight not mentioned elsewhere, 3. Dealt with back story. I loved the characters in the books, particularly the clever Finessa and rakish Richcraft I enjoyed their battle of wits. This tale is not a little kiddie's story. It deals with a ladies' man, trusts and mistrusts, character flaws, a clever heroine, gruesome deaths, and revenge.

    Another great story of transformation.

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    I have one nit-picky thing about it, though. It is dealing with the details of how the people living, dead, and missing through most of the story appear at the end slightly a deus ex machina moment. I found it not really a fairy tale as more of a "wonder" tale. Nothing really magical occurs, except for fate seeming to intervene in these characters' lives. I like to see that back in that time there weren't such rigid guidelines, as in other eras on how a lady or man should depict themselves.

    It is more like commentary in that men of the era could wear heels, powder, and wigs and not be chastised for it. They too "dolled" themselves up. I enjoyed the main characters and creatures that appeared. I do comment though that the island of Quietlife seemed to sidetrack from the lover's story. Though I do also see some necessity in it by helping the Prince Izmir become a more capable ruler. I also found the transformation slightly unnecessary at the end.