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Encyclopedia > Little, Big
Little, Big
Cover of first edition
(Bantam Books, paperback)
Author John Crowley
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Fantasy
Publisher Bantam Books
Released August 1981
Media Type Print (Hardcover, Paperback)
Pages 538 pp
ISBN ISBN 0-553-01266-5

Little, Big: or, The Fairies' Parliament is a modern fantasy novel by John Crowley, published in 1981. It won the World Fantasy Award in 1982. Image File history File links LittleBig(1stEd). ... Bantam Books (established 1945), owned by Random House, is a member of the Bantam Dell Publishing Group. ... John Crowley (born December 1, 1942 in Presque Isle, Maine) is an American author of fantasy, science fiction and mainstream fiction. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Look up Fantasy in Wiktionary, the free dictionary For other definitions of fantasy, see fantasy (psychology). ... Bantam Books (established 1945), owned by Random House, is a member of the Bantam Dell Publishing Group. ... See also: 1980 in literature, other events of 1981, 1982 in literature, list of years in literature. ... A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) book is bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth or heavy paper) and a stitched spine. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Fantasy is a genre of art that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. ... John Crowley (born December 1, 1942 in Presque Isle, Maine) is an American author of fantasy, science fiction and mainstream fiction. ... 1981 (MCMLXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... First awarded in 1975, the World Fantasy Awards are handed out annually at the World Fantasy Convention (WFC) to recognize outstanding achievement in the field of fantasy. ...

Contents

Plot introduction

Little, Big (subtitled The Fairies' Parliament) is the epic story of the Drinkwater family and their relationship with a mostly obscured world of Faery. It is set in and around their eccentric country house called Edgewood, in New England somewhere north of "the City" (clearly a version of New York City). The story is dreamlike, quiet, and meandering, spanning a hundred years of the intertwined family trees of the Drinkwaters and their relations - from the turn of the twentieth century to a sparsely-described dystopian future America ruled by a sinister despot. The magical elements are subtle rather than overt, with only occasional glimpses of the fairies themselves, although their presence is felt throughout. In mythology and in fiction, Faerie (also Faery) is an otherworldly realm, home to the Fae or fairies. ... Nickname: Big Apple, Gotham Location in the state of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York Boroughs The Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Staten Island Settled 1613 Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Area    - City 1,214. ...


Explanation of the novel's title

The further one goes into Edgewood, the bigger it gets. Size is a constant motif throughout the novel.


Characters in Little, Big

  • Smoky Barnable
  • Daily Alice Drinkwater
  • Auberon Barnable
  • Sylvie
  • Sophie Drinkwater
  • Violet Bramble
  • Aunt Cloud
  • John Drinkwater
  • Auberon Drinkwater
  • Grandfather Trout (August Drinkwater)
  • George Mouse
  • Ariel Hawksquill
  • Russell Eigenblick (Frederick Barbarossa)

...


Major themes

One of the recurring motifs in the work is the sense of the disparity between the insides and the outsides of things; that is, how large insides somehow fit into small outsides. The Edgewater house is certainly the most obvious of these. The memory palaces of Ariel Hawksquill also point to the inside-outside, little-big motif.


Crowley has mentioned some of the main elements that came together to form this work. One of these is the image of Smoky tying up the ends of his life to go to his uncertain future at the Drinkwater house. Another is the idea of a huge multi-generational family and their intimate ties with faerie.


One other recurring theme is the idea of generation, in this case, human procreation. This theme is illustrated by the both the sheer size of the Drinkwater clan and the constant emphasis on family life. A thread of incest also becomes apparent when George Mouse sleeps with his cousin Sophie Drinkwater. Though never stated flatly, there is heavy implication that George Mouse is Sylvie's father, in addition to being her one-time lover.

Literary significance & criticism

Harold Bloom included this work in his book The Western Canon. Harold Bloom (born July 11, 1930, New York) is an American professor and prominent literary and cultural critic. ...


Allusions/references to actual history, geography and current science

2002 Harper paperback edition cover
2002 Harper paperback edition cover

The writing has its roots in poetry and American idiom and blossoms into hints and wordplay. Those who like the book praise its style, while others find it overdecorated. Indeed it is a highly decorated book, broken into short sections that each have a title, full of catchphrases and of allusions to such things as Image File history File links Little_Big_novel_cover. ... Image File history File links Little_Big_novel_cover. ...

Editions of the book usually have some ornamentation in the printing. Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) circa 1908 Louis Comfort Tiffany (February 18, 1848 - January 17, 1933) was an American artist and designer who is best known for his work in stained glass and is the American artist most associated with the Art Nouveau movement. ... Dame Frances Amelia Yates (1899-1981) was a noted British historian. ... Neoplatonism (also Neo-Platonism) is the modern term for a school of philosophy that took shape in the 3rd century AD, based on the teachings of Plato and earlier Platonists. ... Lewis Carroll. ... This article is about the structure, card imagery, and history of tarot decks, which today are often used for spiritual, esoteric, psychological, occult and/or divinatory purposes. ... An illustration from Alices Adventures in Wonderland Arthur Rackham (September 19, 1867 – September 6, 1939) was a prolific British book illustrator. ... This article is about the Harlem neighborhood in New York City. ... Thornton W. Burgess (1874 – 1965) was an American conservationist and author of childrens stories featuring the wildlife of his native Massachusetts—Peter Cottontail, Jimmy Skunk, Grandfather Frog, etc. ... Frederick in a 13th century Chronicle Frederick I (German: Friedrich I. von Hohenstaufen)(1122 – June 10, 1190), also known as Friedrich Barbarossa (Frederick Redbeard) was elected king of Germany on March 4, 1152 and crowned Holy Roman Emperor on June 18, 1155. ... Frances with the fairies, taken by Elsie in July 1917. ...


Awards and nominations

First awarded in 1975, the World Fantasy Awards are handed out annually at the World Fantasy Convention (WFC) to recognize outstanding achievement in the field of fantasy. ... The Nebula is an award given each year by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), for the best science fiction/fantasy fiction published in the United States during the two previous years (see rolling eligibility below). ... Winners of the Nebula Award for Best Novel. ... The 2005 Hugo Award with base designed by Deb Kosiba. ... The Hugo Awards are given annually for the best science fiction or fantasy works. ...

Release details

  • 1981, USA, Bantam Books ISBN 0-553-01266-5, Pub date 1981, trade paperback (black). Simultaneously published in Canada.
  • 1982, UK, Victor Gollancz ISBN 0-575-03065-8, Pub date 1982, hardcover (white dustjacket)
  • 1982, UK, Victor Gollancz ISBN 0-575-03123-9, Pub date 1982, trade paperback (white)
  • 1983, USA, Bantam Books, ISBN 0-553-23337-8, Pub date 1983, mass market paperback. Yvonne Gilbert (front cover illustrator)
  • 1990, USA, Bantam Books, ISBN 0-553-26586-5, Pub date 1990, mass market paperback. Tom Canty (front cover illustrator)
  • 1994, USA, Bantam Fantasy Book Club ISBN 1-56865-429-4, Pub date 1994, hardcover. Gary A. Lippincott (illustrator)

A 25th anniversary edition, designed in accordance with the author's idea of how the book should be presented, is now in production at Incunabula, a small press in Seattle, and is scheduled for publication in Spring 2007. This limited edition will include reproductions of the artwork of Peter Milton, and an introduction by the author Harold Bloom. For details, visit http://www.littlebig25.com. Incunabula is the name of a quality small press based in Seattle. ... Peter Winslow Milton (b. ... Harold Bloom (born July 11, 1930, New York) is an American professor and prominent literary and cultural critic. ...


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