Andrew Lang's Fairy Books

Andrew Lang's Fairy Books

Andrew Lang's Fairy Books

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Andrew Lang's Fairy Books or Andrew Lang's "Coloured" Fairy Books constitute a twelve-book series of fairy tale collections. Although Andrew Lang did not collect the stories himself from the oral tradition, the extent of his sources, who had collected them originally (with the notable exception of Madame d'Aulnoy), made them an immensely influential collection, especially as he used foreign-language sources, giving many of these tales their first appearance in English. As acknowledged in the prefaces, although Lang himself made most of the selections, his wife and other translators did a large portion of the translating and telling of the actual stories.

"The irony of Lang's life and work is that although he wrote for a profession—literary criticism; fiction; poems; books and articles on anthropology, mythology, history, and travel ... he is best recognized for the works he did not write."Anita Silvey, Children's Books and Their Creators, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995; p. 387.

Many of the books were illustrated by Henry J. Ford, with Lancelot Speed and G. P. Jacomb-Hood also contributing some illustrations.

Origin and Influence

Lang's urge to collect and publish fairy tales was rooted in his own experience with the folk and fairy tales of his home territory along the English-Scottish border. At the time he worked, English fairy-tale collections were rare: Dinah Maria Mulock Craik's The Fairy Book (1869) was a lonely...
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