Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Women in Folklore Month: Terri Windling

I mentioned yesterday that Angela Carter was a direct inspiration behind SurLaLune's development. Another of the greatest influences is Terri Windling. I discovered as a teenager the fairy tale series she edited, especially falling in love with Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia Wrede and Tam Lin by Pamela Dean. Then Jane Yolen's Briar Rose followed a few years later. It's telling that many of the eight titles are still in print decades later. That's very rare for this subgenre.

Reading these works as well as the anthologies Windling coedited with Ellen Datlow helped me embrace my love of fairy tales and folklore as a young adult. These days their more recent collections are marketed to young adults, but are very much suitable for adults, too.

And they just include some really wonderful reading you really should explore her work if you haven't before. (Although I'm sure you have if you are reading here.)

From The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales:

Terri Windling is an American author, artist, and editor of works inspired by fairy tales. Both her edited works and her own fiction have won World Fantasy Awards, demonstrating her importance and competence in shaping fantastic fairy-tale fiction. Windling’s work with fairy tales is sensitive and intelligent. Her introductions to edited volumes establish her familiarity with folkloristic scholarship, while her selection of topics reveals a concern for the power structures inherent to fairy tales.

Much of Windling’s editorial work has been in partnership with Ellen Datlow. Together they produced The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror anthologies (1988-2003), which some times included fairy-tale fiction. Most notably, Datlow and Windling coedited a six-volume series of fairy-tale inspired short stories for adults that included Snort’ White, Blood Red (1993), Black Thorn, White Rose (1994), Ruby Slippers, Golden Tears (1995), Black Swan, White Raven (1997), Silver Birch, Blood Moon (1999), and Black Heart, Ivory Bones (2000). Each volume contains an introduction by Datlow and Windling that celebrates the complexity, sensuality, and violence of oral tales that moralistic writers and editors of fairy tales intended for children inevitably tried to suppress. However, Datlow and Windling also have edited collections of retold fairy tales for children ages eight to twelve titled A Wolf at the Door (2000) and Swan Sister (2003). The editors’ introductions to these anthologies make the point that older fairy tales were darker but also brighter, filled with more danger but also with more interesting and more resourceful protagonists.

I could write much more, but I am trying to keep these posts shorter. Ultimately, Windling has been a great influence in fairy tale fiction publishing in the past several decades. She helped to keep the genre alive before fantasy became so popular in the post-Harry Potter and Twilight days we are living in now. She has nurtured many authors who have become well-known names, not just as fairy tale retellers. With her Endicott Studio, she essentially built a modern day salon for authors and other artists working in the interstitial arts. (I have thought of her at times as the modern day Madame D'Aulnoy, only in the best ways, of course!)

For lists of titles, see Fairy Tale Series edited by Terri Windling and Fairy Tale anthology series edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling are both available on SurLaLune. I need update the latter, but you can also see Windling's other titles on her Amazon Author Page.

You may also visit Terri's official website as well as The Endicott Studio website. Endicott is mostly lying fallow these days with great archives as Terri and Company have moved on to other projects, but there is plenty to explore and inspire there. And to see the many faces and names that have been involved with Endicott Studio, visit Endicott Then and Now.

The next title coedited by Datlow and Windling will be coming out next week. I haven't seen it yet, but plan to give it its own post soon: The Beastly Bride: Tales of the Animal People.

1 comment:

  1. Terri's book 'The Wood Wife' was one of the main inspirations for me taking up writing fantastical fiction. She showed me what was possible with a genre that I felt alienated from with its emphasis on dungeon and dragon dire invented world sagas. Love Terri. Long may she reign.