Forbidden Journeys

Forbidden Journeys

Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers

Nina Auerbach, U. C. Knoepflmacher


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This “darkly entertaining” story collection is “a significant contribution to nineteenth-century cultural history, and especially feminist studies" (United Press International).
In the 1870s and 1880s, children’s literature saw some astonishingly bold and innovative writing by women authors. As these eleven dark and wild stories demonstrate, fairy tales by Victorian women constitute a distinct literary tradition, one that was startlingly subversive for its time. While writers such as Lewis Carroll and J.M. Barrie wrote nostalgic tales that pined for lost youth, their female counterparts had more serious—at times unsettling—concerns. 
From Anne Thackeray Ritchie’s adaptations of "The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood" to Christina Rossetti’s unsettling anti-fantasies in Speaking Likenesses, the stories collected here are breathtaking acts of imaginative freedom, by turns amusing, charming, and disturbing. Besides their social and historical implications, they are extraordinary works of fiction, full of strange delights for readers of any age.

"The editors’ intelligent and fascinating commentary reveals ways in which these stories defied the Victorian patriarchy."—Allyson F. McGill, Belles Lettres