The World Treasury of Fairy Tales and Folklore is a stunning collection of fairy tales from around the world, compiled by Prof. William Gray, founding director of the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy here at the University of Chichester and arranged in chronological order. Introductions and notes by fairy-tale experts Rose Williamson and Joanna Gilar help build a deeper understanding of beloved stories.
The collection is laid out into five sections. The first, Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Tales, contains stories from the earliest days of the genre which began to define the style of what we now consider to be fairy tales. The second section on Eighteenth-Century Tales contains tales which were authored or translated amidst a great wave of popularity for fairy tales and tales of wonder. On the heels of the authors such as Charles Perrault, Europe began to devour tales. The Arabian Nights helped to fulfil this need, offering tales of alien other lands, both magical and real.
Next, we explore Nineteenth-Century Folktale Collections, which peeks into the folktale fever that came over scholars during this era. The tales in this section showcase stories anthologised by collectors who sought to preserve them for the future as markers of regional and national folk culture. The Nineteenth-Century Literary Fairy Tales represent the simultaneous trend of fairy-tale authorship which happened alongside folktale collecting. Inspired by tale collections, writers such as Hans Christian Andersen and Oscar Wilde began to pen their own stories which took their place on the bookshelf next to the collections by the Grimms and Joseph Jacobs.
Finally, the section on Twentieth-Century Folktale Collections returns to tales which have been, in some sense, maintained as collectors heard them. More of these folktales originated outside Europe, demonstrating a desire on the part of collectors and readers to hear global tales from all corners of the Earth.
This collection showcases a wide range of fairy tales, from the German Fitcher’s Bird to the Russian Firebird, from the Norwegian Three Billy Goats Gruff, England’s Jack and the Beanstalk, to the Arabian Aladdin, as well as less well-known folktales collected from Asia and the Americas, and from authors and collectors including the Brothers Grimm, Andrew Lang, Joseph Jacobs, Hans Christian Andersen, Oscar Wilde and Robert Louis Stevenson. Richly illustrated by Fausto Bianchi, this treasury of tales will be an essential addition to all family libraries.