Friday, September 3, 2010

Swedish Fairy Tales and John Bauer

I will be returning to more Snow White and Sleeping Beauty posts next week.  I have so much I want to write, but it requires sitting and thinking which isn't happening very easily this week.  So after the holiday weekend in which I hope to get caught up in other areas of my life, I hope the blog will become more of a conversation again, welcoming in the new collegiate school year.

Anyway, I have been reading many, many fairy tale collections for the SurLaLune book series and am working my way through some Swedish tales, too.  Admittedly, if one is going to own a collection of Swedish fairy tales, it should undoubtedly be one illustrated by John Bauer, such as Swedish Folk Tales or Swedish Fairy Tales.

Swedish Folk Tales Swedish Fairy Tales

It's all too easy for me to neglect Swedish fairy tales at times since not many of the tales fit into the popular tale types I work with the most often.  However, paging through one of the collections illustrated by Bauer is enticing, making one want to KNOW what these tales are about.  And, really, I need to do better for I have quite a bit of Swedish heritage--at least an eighth--that I have neglected over the years.  The German and Norwegian parts of me are so much easier to explore folklore-wise.  (But I have a full quarter German and a full quarter Norwegian parts with living relatives who remember the heritage better, too.  My Swedish great-grandfather died very young of TB, leaving behind a young wife and two small daughters, one of whom was my maternal grandmother.)

Bauer makes the trolls quite lovely in their uniquely ugly way. 

Then one looks at an illustration like this one and thinks, AHA! A Swedish Snow White!  Nope, not at all.  The girl is giving away the fruit to poor passers-by actually.  How easy it is to assume and be wrong.

All of these images are from Artsy Craftsy by the way, part of Art Passions, which has been around for about as long as SurLaLune.  All of the images are available as art prints.  Lovely, lovely.  You can also read more about John Bauer on Wikipedia.  His work has such a modern touch to it that it is hard to fathom he died in 1918.

1 comment:

  1. I *almost* ordered one of these books last night from amazon. I'm wondering if you've read both and which you'd recommend? The green book is pricier and has more reviews....