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Posts Tagged ‘fairytales’

Many people with an interest in 19th century literature will have read some Oscar Wilde (or at least seen a movie adaption), but have you read the fairytales? Wilde’s fairytale are unlike most fairytales. They feature beautiful boys, and very sad endings.

During the 18th century, rational and Enlightened thinking was valued, and folk legends and fairytales were not popular at all. However in 1823, with the publication of Edgar Taylor’s translation of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales, (translated as German Popular Stories ), fairy tales became, almost overnight, a respectable study for antiquarians, an inspiration for poets, and a permissible source of wonder for the young (from csulb.net)

Wilde wrote subversively to undermine stereotypical Victorian values. “He clearly wanted to subvert the messages conveyed by [Hans] Andersen’s tales, but more important his poetical style recalled the rhythms and language of the Bible in order to counter the stringent Christian code” (from csulb.net)

A (bit lengthy) essay on the fairytales and how Wilde’s psyche can be known through them

Read some stories online

My favourite part, which shows the unexpected edge to the fairytales, is from “The Star-Child:”

And they fell on his neck and kissed him, and brought him into the palace and clothed him in fair raiment, and set the crown upon his head, and the sceptre in his hand, and over the city that stood by the river he ruled, and was its lord. Much justice and mercy did he show to all, […] taught love and loving-kindness and charity, and to the poor he gave bread, and to the naked he gave raiment, and there was peace and plenty in the land.
Yet ruled he not long, so great had been his suffering, and so bitter the fire of his testing, for after the space of three years he died. And he who came after him ruled evilly.

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More or less related, if you are interested in reading, books, and studying online and connecting with other bibliophiles, check out this great site which has links to pretty much anything book-related:
100 Places to connect with bibliophiles online

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As a follow-up to my post about Ludwig II of Bavaria, a post about the castles he built.

I think in his time, Ludwig might be seen in the same manner we regard someone like Michael Jackson, and his castles remind of MJ’s Neverland Ranch.

The most impressive castle is Neuschwanstein, which was built by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as a homage to Richard Wagner.

Herrenchiemsee is the biggest palace, but nor very impressive compared to Ludwig’s fairytale-style castles.

The Linderhof is the smallest castle, and the only of his buildings that Ludwig saw completed.  You can clearly see how it was inspired by Louis XIV’s Versailles, in the shape of the castle.

The Königshaus am Schachen is, as the name says, more a house then a castle. It can only be reached after hours of walking. It was officially meant to be a hunter’s resort, but Ludwig used it to celebrate his birthdays.

Castle Falkenstein is a ruin Ludwig bought in 1883, with the intention to transform it into a fairytale castle. However since he died in 1886, the castle was never completed. This is how it was supposed to look when finished:

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“Once upon a time in Denmark there lived the son of a shoecobbler, who had an enormous nose and very large feet. His father had died, his mom was a drunk, his grandfather was insane and his aunt ran a brothel. When the boy turned fourteen, he left home to travel the world and become famous. Half of his live he spend traveling. He sat at the table of kings and princess, drank with artists and scientists, but he didn’t have any real friends. The only thing that remained of his infatuations was a broken heart, and apart from that he also suffered from insomnia, headaches, constipation, haemorrhoids, terrible tooth-aches, and all kinds of anxieties and chronic feelings of insecurity. He failed as balletdancer, singer, theatre-, and fiction writer. He lived long and unhappily, but wrote 156 fairytales, which makes him immortal” 1)

Well, that’s a version of the life story of Hans Christian Andersen. Here is the normal biography if you’re interested, and you can read all of his fairytales here.

Fellow blogger Mica wrote about his amazing papercuttings, which I think is very interesting indeed!

1) Bregje Boonstra http://www.kb.nl/dossiers/andersen/andersen.html

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Even though he spend quite a bit of his life in the 20th century and not the 19th, Arthur Rackham is in his works so Victorian that he definately belongs here.

Arthur Rackham was an English book illustrator and painter living from 1867 till 1939. I saw his works in the 1905 book Rip van Winkle but he also illustrated books like “Alice in Wonderland,” “Peter Pan,” Fairytales of the brothers Grimm, and he also illustrated books for adult readers, for example “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and short stories by Edgar Allen Poe. Already during his lifetime Rackham won various gold medals for his work and was included in numerous exhibitions.

My favourites:
arthur rackham at the wedding
At the wedding
arthur rackham a young man presenting a bouquet
A young man presenting a bouquet to a girl standing in the drawing room
arthur rackham the peep show
The peepshow
arthur rackham hans andersen
Illustration for fairytales by Hans Andersen
arthur rackham rip van winkle
Illustration for Rip van Winkle.

Links to read more:

  • Extensive biography
  • Illustrations for Rip van Winkle
  • Illustrations for Alice in Wonderland
  • Various art galleries
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