Alas, young queen, passing by

The Goose Girl has always been a strange fairy tale to me. It has some strikingly specific imagery (which no doubt originally carried metaphorical meaning that I’m too lazy to look up for this) which makes it stick in your head, but also seemed to me to be even more narratively disjointed and have less clear characterization than many other fairy tales (certainly, when I read it for the first time it was easily the most extreme example of that I’d encountered). It always seemed to me that there was something there to be teased out or reshaped.

What I’m saying is, the Goose Girl strikes me as an excellent choice for someone who wants to retell fairy tales. Shannon Hale’s The Goose Girl unsurprisingly does just that. It also clearly demonstrates that 1- The Goose Girl can be the basis for a great retelling and 2- I need to read more Shannon Hale. Continue reading

Folklore: an Appeal to Fantasy Authors to Get it Right

Dear Fantasy Genre,

I know I haven’t spent as much time with you recently as I used to.  I’ve been hanging out with mystery more often lately, and even sometimes with those Victorian novels (they’re not all bad, you’d know that if you got out more). But fantasy, I do still care about you, and about what you’re up to. So when I read about one of the best-reviewed fantasy novels of recent years having a very simplistic understanding of my academic field, an academic field which has had a definite role in inspiring fantasy, I become concerned.

I mean, seriously, the American Folklore Society has 2,000 members and the size of the annual meeting is growing every year. There are folklorists hanging out in regional studies, English, and literature programs in Universities across the continent. The University of North Carolina’s folklore program has recommended reading for people new to the field on its site. It is not hard to figure out where to find some basic information. And if you’re teaching English at a University, especially at a University in the University of Wisconsin system, which has UW Madison in it, which is one of the places with an actual folklore program, yet you don’t think to look into any bare basics of how folklore works, you’re a  GODDAMN LAZY HACK WHO SHOU-

ahem

Fantasy, I want to help.

So I’m going to try to deal with some basic questions you may have about folklore in this post.

Continue reading