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Contemporary Fiction and the Fairy Tale

Edited by Stephen Benson

Award Winner

Fairy-Tale Studies, Folklore, Literary Criticism and Theory

Series in Fairy-Tale Studies

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Published: June 2008
ISBN: 9780814332542
Pages: 216 Size: 6x9
Published: June 2008
ISBN: 9780814335826

An excellent volume… Contributors in each case go beyond what is 'usually said' to bring fresh insights to the works they discuss.

— Danielle Roemer

Recent decades have witnessed a renaissance of interest in the fairy tale, not least among writers of fiction. In Contemporary Fiction and the Fairy Tale, editor Stephen Benson argues that fairy tales are one of the key influences on fiction of the past thirty years and also continue to shape literary trends in the present. Contributors detail the use of fairy tales both as inspiration and blueprint and explore the results of juxtaposing fairy tales and contemporary fiction.

At the heart of this collection, seven leading scholars focus on authors whose work is heavily informed and transformed by fairy tales: Robert Coover, A. S. Byatt, Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter, and Salman Rushdie. In addition to investigating the work of this so-called fairy-tale generation, Contemporary Fiction and the Fairy Tale provides a survey of the body of theoretical writing surrounding these authors, both from within literary studies and from fairy-tale studies itself. Contributors present an overview of critical positions, considered here in relation to the work of Jeanette Winterson and of Nalo Hopkinson, suggesting further avenues for research.

Contemporary Fiction and the Fairy Tale offers the first detailed and comprehensive account of the key authors working in this emerging genre. Students and teachers of fiction, folklore, and fairy-tale studies will appreciate this insightful volume.

Stephen Benson is senior lecturer in the School of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, UK. He is the author of Cycles of Influence: Fiction, Folktale, Theory (Wayne State University Press, 2003) and Literary Music: Writing Music in Contemporary Fiction.

Contributors Include:
Andrew Teverson, Cristina Bacchilega, Elizabeth Wanning Harries, Merja Makinen, Sarah Gamble, Sharon R. Wilson, Stephen Benson

An excellent volume. . . . Contributors in each case go beyond what is 'usually said' to bring fresh insights to the works they discuss.

– Danielle Roemer, associate professor of English at Northern Kentucky University and co-editor of Angela Carter and the Fairy Tale

The essays in this volume brilliantly work the rich seam of critical and creative writing that has formed around fairy tales in the past four decades. They turn our attention to fiction by Carter, Coover, Rushdie, Atwood, and others who rely on discourses of popular culture to produce fiction with the power to startle, disturb, and move."

– Maria Tatar, John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University and author of Annotated Hans Christian Andersen and Secrets Beyond the Door: The Story of Bluebeard and His Wives

Destined to become highly influential in the fields of intertextuality and fairy tale studies, this landmark book joins a canon that includes the work of such important critics as Jack Zipes, Marina Warner, Donald Haase, and Cristina Bacchilega (the last, one of the contributors to the present title). Every chapter crackles with clarifying definitions, fresh insights, and careful research."

– Choice

Contemporary Fiction and the Fairy Tale, edited by Stephen Benson, is a welcome contribution to the study of fairy tale-inflected literature, analyzing the intertextual borrowings of authors from Angela Carter to Nalo Hopkinson.

– Kristiana Willsey, Journal of Folklore Research

  • 2008 Choice Outstanding Academic Title - Result: Winner