Friday, March 8, 2019

International Women's Day 2019 and Women in Folklore: Leonora Lang

Hello dear readers,

I didn't want to miss acknowledging International Women's Day on the SurLaLune Blog today but my time is short. So this will be quick and sloppy. One of the many things I love about fairy tales and folklore is how much they represent women's voices over the centuries. I have spent thousands of hours reading folklore collections and studies over the years. During these experiences, I have been impressed over and over with how often the folklorists involved were women. My sloppiness is my lack of time to compile the list of so many women past and present whose work I value in the field.

I was raised by a strong woman who taught and gave me so much, especially a value for education and continued learning, which has fueled my passion for SurLaLune. March this year began with the news that my mother has terminal cancer. As I cope with the process of saying good-bye to her for now, I am even more aware than usual of those precious gifts and legacies she made possible for me. Another gift was her awareness of women's issues and acknowledging the challenges that come with being a woman past and present, too, on this earth.

As I work on SurLaLune projects, I am also reminded of the work of so many women who are lesser known, whose work I build upon in this field, and whose work I try to keep visible for others to discover and enjoy as they delve into reading fairy tales and folklore.

If time allows, I will share more names and work of some of those women this month and in the months to come. Many will have their work represented in the forthcoming SurLaLune Tales Database.

Today, on the quick and sloppy note, I wanted to highlight Leonora Blanche "Nora" Lang (née Alleyne), wife of Andrew Lang, whose work is often overshadowed by her husband's name. The Lang Colored Fairy Books are more her work than that of her accredited husband--something he freely stated in his introductions. If you want to read more about her, visit the Wikipedia entry devoted to her.

In his introduction to The Lilac Fairy Book, Andrew Lang writes:

The fairy books have been almost wholly the work of Mrs. Lang, who has translated and adapted them from the French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Catalan, and other languages.
The failure to put her name on the cover appears to be more marketing issues than not in this instance, still not acceptable in this day and age, and it shouldn't have been then. Her husband was famous. The publishers wanted his name on the cover and they did publish other books with her name on the cover. Which begs as to why they didn't add hers to the fairy books, too. But it is the past and we cannot change it.

However, when the SurLaLune Tales Database launches, I have decided to include Mrs. Lang's name in the bibliographic information for the fairy books and their respective tales. Those books have already been added and here is a screen shot of the decision I made last year on how to give some of the credit back to her for this series that has influenced countless people for many generations already.

Finally, to see my past posts about Women and Folklore just follow that link.

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