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Encyclopedia > On Fairy Stories

On Fairy-Stories is an essay written by J. R. R. Tolkien, first published in Essays Presented to Charles Williams, Oxford University Press, 1947. It was subsequently published with Leaf by Niggle in Tree and Leaf.

The essay is significant because it contains Tolkien's explanation of his philosophy on fantasy and thoughts on the crafting of mythologies.

The key points of this philosophy are:

  • Fairy-Stories are not the same thing as fairy tales (e.g., Grimm's Fairy Tales).
  • Fairy-Stories are not stories about fairies, etc.; they are stories about people and the effects on their lives of interactions with such things.

  Results from FactBites:
Fairy tale - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (914 words)
The fairy tale is a sub-class of the folktale.
Although in the late nineteenth and twentieth century the fairy tale came to be associated with children's literature, adults were originally as likely as children to be the audience of the fairy tale.
Fairy tales resurfaced in literature in the 17th century, with the Neapolitan tales of Giambattista Basile and the later Contes of Charles Perrault, who fixed the forms of Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.
Fables, Folklore and Fairy Stories (6474 words)
In the fairy story of the Three Little Pigs, the wolf tempts the first two pigs with various favours, all of which fail to achieve his ends, before huffing and puffing and blowing down the flimsy dwellings of the first two pigs and devouring them.
In all these fairy stories the same themes appear over and over again though in some versions we begin to see the wolf portrayed as being more misunderstood by humans rather than as the epitome of evil as it has been depicted for so long.
And from the fables, folklore and fairy stories which our ancestors carried with them to every part of the globe we have received a great inheritance from mankind's own past and, as we have seen, in that heritage the wolf played a very prominent role.
  More results at FactBites »



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