Fairy Tales & Women

Mirror, mirror on the wall : women writers explore their favorite fairy tales

edited by Kate Bernheimer

Fairy tales are one of the most enduring forms of literature, their plots retold and characters reimagined for centuries. In this elegant and thought-provoking collection of original essays, Kate Bernheimer brings together twenty-eight leading women writers to discuss how these stories helped shape their imaginations, their craft, and our culture. In poetic narratives, personal histories, and penetrating commentary, the assembled authors bare their soul and challenge received wisdom. Eclectic and wide-ranging, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall is essential reading for anyone who has ever been bewitched by the strange and fanciful realm of fairy tales.

Spinning Straw Into Gold : What Fairy Tales Reveal About The Transformations In A Woman’s Life 

by Joan Gould

Gould expands on issues raised in her previous volume (Spirals: A Woman’s Journey through Family Life) to show how the stories of Cinderella, Rapunzel and other folk and modern heroines correspond to the real-life stages of women, from budding adolescence to wise old age, in this original, well-written book. “Fairy tales tell us that a day comes when we are due to wake up to a new reality, come to life again transformed… with a sense of wonder at how far we’ve come,” she writes, “along with a twinge of nostalgia for the person we used to call ‰me’ but for whom we no longer have a name.” Snow White, Gould suggests, reflects familiar mother-daughter jealousy, while Sleeping Beauty examines a girl’s anxiety about the next stage of her life. While Gould concentrates on classic European fairy tales (the Grimm brothers; Charles Perrault), she also examines fairy tale themes in Greek myths (Persephone; Psyche) and popular movies and novels (Pretty Woman; Jane Eyre). Without interrupting the flow of commentary, she also refers to her own transformations as a woman and the perspectives of female acquaintances and family members. 

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