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The Virago Book of Fairy Tales
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The Virago Book of Fairy Tales

(Virago Fairy Tales #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  370 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Once upon a time fairy tales weren't meant just for children, and neither is The Virago Book of Fairy Tales. This stunning collection contains lyrical tales, bloody tales, hilariously funny and ripely bawdy stories from countries around the world. And no drippy princesses or soppy fairies. Instead girls, women and crones, wise as serpents, gentle as doves and occasionally ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published 1991 by Virago Press (first published January 1st 1990)
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A really good collection of fairy and folktales. While there are some better known tales in the collection, such as "East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon", many of the tales are not as well known. The stories come from all over the globe. While tale types are used, the most familiar tales of those types are not used. Instead of "Cinderella", there is "Mossycoat", for instance. There is a note section at the end of the book that covers sources. I really enjoyed "The Princess in the Suit of Leathe ...more
Glen Engel-Cox
Jul 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
This one came from Jill’s library, passed to me because she felt that I would enjoy it since I enjoy fairy tales. In fact, some of the stories included in this volume are anthologized from some of the books on my backlist. The selection criteria here is mainly tales that involve women, tales that were available in English, and/or tales that caught the attention of Carter. Some are fairly common, like “Little Red Riding Hood,” while others are incredibly bizarre, at least to our culture, such as ...more
Alina Syed
Nov 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Some of the tales were fascinating. Some of them were plain weird.
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
An unusually varied collection of adult folktales from many countries of the world. Chosen and assembled by Angela Carter, there is a good introduction, which explains the criteria for inclusion and the sources, which are were already translated into English despite the fact that they come from many different countries.

Some of the tales are very familiar, some not at all and a few downright bizarre. Some tales are definitely adult and explicit. All are very readable and I've enjoyed working thro
Nicola Niemc
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bewitching tales of wonderful women! My experience of fairytales was limited to the Brothers Grimm and a very small amount of 1,001 Nights, so to read tales from Siberia, Sudan, the USA and even countries I had never heard of (Suriname?!) was both fascinating and enlightening. These tales show that we have more in common than we think and that women from all cultures can be brave, ingenious and downright determined to be heard.
Jose Bustillo
This is a collection of folktale stories intended for children of all ages, this book specifically states that it is also for adults, not just children. Many of the stories come from all around the globe and is very text heavy with few illustrations. It is a very extensive book and is recommended to all although maybe not specifically younger children.
Jes Richards
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great collection of uncommon folktales.
Pat Edwards
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
so much fun and a new perspective.
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Muy x los cuentos, tan cortos que todo se siente presuroso, y aunque la sinopsis diga que no, siguen cayendo en lo convencional.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Didn't finish. I was looking for stories by Carter, but this a collection she has edited. These are okay, but I like her style better. ...more
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Meh. While I liked some of the individual stories, the overall impression was that Carter had an axe to grind. There were just too many stories about women tricking men (who sometimes deserved it but often did not).
Aug 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable and unusual collection of fairy tales -- some familiar, most not, and some quite surprisingly bawdy. (You do wonder, reading the normal collections of folktales, what has become of all the dirty jokes you just know those people were telling.)

I enjoyed Carter's introduction (which pointed out, for instance, that Tale A was told by one man to another, and changes meaning "now that I am telling it to you.") I personally would have preferred that the introduction were much longer and mo
Patricia J. O'Brien
I enjoyed the journey in this is a collection of folk tales and fairy tales from many cultures--stories handed down in oral tradition and told as entertainment or cautionary tales. In stories such as these if you fail to heed warnings or break promises the result can be devastating.
Female protagonists are featured in this anthology and they are a clever bunch. They outwit overbearing fathers, mean stepmothers, unwanted suitors and evil witches. The stories may be short, but there's always someth
iele paloumpis
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a fascinating read that contextualizes fairy tales as oral histories. particularly focusing on working class women's herstories from all over the earth. i love what carter says in her introduction about the expansive life of fairy tales: "The stories have seeded themselves all round the world, not because we all share the same imagination and experience but because stories are portable, part of the invisible luggage people take with them when they leave home." yay living history. ...more
Wendy Daniel
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lis-4510
I chose this collection of Fairy Tales, because I love to hear where the saying and stories we know today came from. It's a common thing to say "it's just an old wives tale," but what does that really mean? Well, this book is not the place to turn to if you are looking for answers to this question. The fairy tales were mildly interesting, but I didn't particularly care for how they were organized or presented.

Overall I was disappointed in this collection.
Jul 13, 2014 rated it liked it
The fairy tales that came from different cultures and generations are very fascinating. It was also nice to read the different versions of the fairy tales that we used to know. Some are humorous, some are dark. Overall, it was a great read. What makes it more amazing is that Angela Carter was able to research all of these stories, giving us a different view on fairy tales.
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Fascinating collection of stories gathered from around the world.
Loved the way some stories and themes keep reappearing, like Cinderella and her shoe. Some of the Eskimo stories are quite raunchy and the women in others are strong and feisty and find their own means to get their own way against the traditional male power.
Gloria Mccracken
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're a fairy tale geek -- which I am, this collection of fairy tales (with no punches pulled) which have women or girls as main characters is just the thing. Includes several (possibly more than several) unsuitable for children. Those Inuit are a bawdy bunch
Dec 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book, the fairy tales were entertaining, although I thought the content would be more like Carter's fiction books. It was easy to read, but towards the end I did get a bit bored and fed up. ...more
Lindsay Stares
Pretty decent collection of tales, including some of the dirty ones you don't get in folk tale collections aimed at kids. ...more
great idea! A story collection focused on heroines! 'Bout time somebody came up with this! ...more
Laura Beasley
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, storytelling
My fav is A Pottle o Brains.
Lord Beardsley
May 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: read2009
Dark, fantastic, and comprehensive collection of fairy tales minus the Disneyfied sensibilities as told by the genius that is Angela Carter, the literary world's most prolific crazy cat lady! ...more
Don Hackett
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good anthology of woman-oriented fairytales and folktales.
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Psyche Ready
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Jul 14, 2015
Martha Kelly
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Feb 07, 2016
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Born Angela Olive Stalker in Eastbourne, in 1940, Carter was evacuated as a child to live in Yorkshire with her maternal grandmother. As a teenager she battled anorexia. She began work as a journalist on the Croydon Advertiser, following in the footsteps of her father. Carter attended the University of Bristol where she studied English literature.

She married twice, first in 1960 to Paul Carter. Th

Other books in the series

Virago Fairy Tales (3 books)
  • The Second Virago Book of Fairy Tales
  • Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales

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