Andrew Lang, H.J. Ford, and the Books of Fairy

Ivana Baquero, the young actress playing Ophelia in Guillermo Del Toro's new film 'Pan's Labyrinth', spoke in an interview in 'Rue Morgue' about how she prepared for the role. She mentions a series of books sent to her by GDT, which I had never heard of, and promptly began to research. Little did I know I was about to stumble upon a treasure trove of fairy tale beauty, perfect inspiration as I work on my own little fable (coming soon.....)
At the turn of the last century, a writer named Andrew Lang compiled fairy tales from around the world, and published them in a series of books. They are all here, the big ones ("Hansel and Gretel") and the small ones ("The Headless Dwarfs"....."Like a swarm of midges, a host of tiny headless creatures seemed to spring straight out of the ground, and every one was armed with a club. Although they were so small, yet there were such numbers of them and they struck so hard that even a strong man could do nothing against them." ....great stuff). Tales from Hungary and Russia, Asia and Africa and Europe, and they are all online!! From 'The Blue Fairy Book' to 'The Rose Fairy Book'. I'll be collecting hard copies of these compilations, I must own them...I could easily see myself spending the rest of my stop-mo life adapting these tales, a la Harryhausens 'Mother Goose' shorts....only creepy :)
Here's PBS' little bio on the author--

Andrew Lang 1844-1912--Known primarily as a historian, literary critic, and translator (he put out "new versions" of the Arabian Nights and of the Iliad and the Odyssey), Andrew Lang collected and adapted dozens of fairy tales in a veritable rainbow of books between 1889 and 1907, including The Blue Fairy Book (with his wife, Leonora Blanche Lang), The Red Fairy Book, The Yellow Fairy Book, The Orange Fairy Book, and The Red Book of Animal Stories. As an influential critic with a column in Longman's magazine, Lang advocated romance over realism. In this critical capacity, he championed Robert Louis Stevenson and H. Rider Haggard, with whom he collaborated on The World's Desire, a "sequel" to The Odyssey, in 1890. While the bulk of Lang's output was for adults (and highly educated adults at that), his interest in fairy tales and other childhood mythologies represents an important strain in Victorian thought, in which fantasy and imagination were recognized as important seats of learning and education.

'Hansel and Gretel'

All of the artwork in the books was created by an artist named H.J.Ford, beautiful work.....learn about both men, read tons of fairy tales, and enjoy......here.....


gl. said...

my michaelmas has had these in his library forever. they are an amazing resource. i'm delighted to discover they played such an influential role in the movie!

Darkstrider said...

Good stuff! I read one of the tales (Can't remember what it was called) and it would be basically impossible to do in stopmo. It included all the ravens in the world, plus all the crows and all the magpies (Hmmm... always thought those were just different words for the same birds). You'd have to be the world's biggest masochist to attempt that one! But I'm sure some are more suited.

herself said...

Woo. Up my alley, eh? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I Dig that Hanzel and gretel image!