Byatt's article is titled "Love in Fairy Tales," but she starts with a conversation about how children, and how we adults, read fairy tales. She suggests that we do not read them for instruction, nor do we read them to identify with feeling. In Grimm's tales at least (Hans Christian Andersen is another case entirely), the heroines and heroes are interchangeable, as are their feelings. We know that good will triumph, evil punished. In such an ordered (if unreal) world, space is made for the terrible, the miraculous, the extravagant and the marvelous. (Makes me wonder if this is the secret to good magical realism as a writer, a world so ordered the reader knows how things must go and therefore relax and allow for the fantastical within the clearly denoted boundaries of life.) Maria Tartar,
Sunday, March 7, 2010
How Do We Read A Tale?
Oh lucky the paper that can include, and does, articles about fairy tales. That they're written by A. S. Byatt makes the reading sweeter. I stumbled upon these articles after I had finished my first post-bypass fairy tale. They were different, these new tales, from the first ones I attempted. It's hard to explain, exactly. Maybe you could get a sense of the difference in reading them. There was something more inclusive and yet more liminal. I was both character but also audience, I was telling the tale and listening, al at the same time. And I was making them mine.