Monday, February 18, 2013

The Underground Kingdom at Tales of Faerie

Last week, Kristen at Tales of Faerie posted about Twelve Dancing Princesses Tales From Around the World with two posts, The Underground Kingdom: Part I and The Underground Kingdom: Part II.

In those entries, she proceeds to summarize and explain some of the unique elements of the Twelve Dancing Princesses type tales in the book. I enjoyed rereading these because I love the tale, loved researching and editing the book, and yet I have forgotten the nuances of many of the tales in the three years since I completed the book. Cinderella, Bluebeard, Mermaids, and Beauty and the Beast have overrun that portion of my brain's storage since that time. And yet, sometime this year, I plan to finally finish the Grateful Dead collection that was spawned from this book. I have an almost complete manuscript for it--I started it while working on this book, but I know the demand is small for such a lesser known tale, so the final edit remains undone. It has over 40 tales and several plays--that tale used to be rewritten and repeatedly reproduced on stage at least once a century. Either way, it will make a fun All Souls' Day/Samhain/Halloween release for 2013, yes?

But this post is about The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Kristin did such a great job that it makes me want to go back and reread my own book! I completed the book around the same time as the small surge in Twelve Dancing Princesses inspired novels were being published. This is the only collection I've worked on where an entire novel pretty much sprang into my head, too. Alas, it remains unwritten since I can only work two jobs a day. And Twelve Dancing Princesses Tales From Around the World was never promoted as well by me  since the week of its release I was violently ill and my brain went out of commission for months afterwards as a result of weeks of bouts with a high fever.

From the Tales of Faerie blog:

The Princesses are sometimes willing and sometimes under a spell; the land they travel to is usually an evil and dangerous place in most Western versions but even then there are exceptions. Either way the reader is generally excited to hear about the forbidden journey and the supernatural secrets that are revealed. In her introduction to the book, Heidi Anne Heiner speculates that since the Princesses generally don't want to be rescued, that may be part of the appeal of the tale. What do you think, readers? Do you have a particular favorite variant? Why do you like or not like this tale?

The morality in this tale still remains more ambiguous than many other tale types. Perhaps that is one reason why it fascinates so many writers and readers. Thanks, Kristin, for sharing the book so well. It really is a fascinating tale!

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