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Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England
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Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England

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4.05  ·  Rating details ·  965 ratings  ·  60 reviews
This anthology of feminist fairy tales and critical essays acts as an example of how the literature of fantasy and imagination can be harnessed to create a new view of the world. It demonstrates how recent writers have changed the aesthetic constructs and social content of fairy tales to reflect cultural change since the 1960s in area of gender roles, socialization and edu ...more
Paperback, 270 pages
Published November 17th 1986 by Routledge (first published January 1st 1986)
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4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  965 ratings  ·  60 reviews


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Zanna
Aug 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
There were parts of this that I enjoyed a lot. I really like Angela Carter's story 'The Donkey Prince', which disrupts the racism, the classism and the sexism of traditional fairytales all in one go. The Merseyside Fairy Story Collective's version of Snow White is also satisfyingly proletarian and justice-focused. Tanith Lee's story 'Prince Amilec' and Meghan B Collins' 'The Green Woman' rehabilitate the figure of the witch, which always gets an extra star out of me.

Jane Yolen's version of Cinde
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Chris
A feminist look at fairy tales including short stories. This book is split into three sections - tales for younger readers, tales for older readers, and criticism. The works have appeared in various sources elsewhere.

Included in this collection are feminist working of Beaty and the Beast, a discussion about "Snow White", an examination of the illustrations for "Little Read Riding Hood", a prince's quest to marry a spoiled princess, as well as a princess saving a prince.

The stories and poems are
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Margaret
Don't Bet on the Prince is a collection of short stories, poems, and critical works looking at fairy tales from a feminist perspective. It's broken up into 3 sections--tales for young readers, old readers, and lit criticism.

The tales for young readers explore strong princesses, or the strong women prince's choose. My favorites from this section were "Prince Amilec" by Tanith Lee, about a prince who falls instantly in love with a head-strong princess and seeks a witch's help in wooing her; and "
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Hazel
Apr 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Thanks to whoever recommended this. (Was it you, Chris?) I just got it from the library. I skipped all the academic discourse in the preface and introductory essay, and got straight to the stories. Loving it so far.

There are excellently crafted tales by the like of Angela Carter, Joanna Russ, Judith Viorst, Margaret Atwood and Jane Yolen. I love The Green Woman by Meghan B Collins, and Anne Sexton's poem Briar Rose makes me shudder. The first section will do for younger readers, and I could read
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Arielle Walker
Jul 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Some of these stories are a bit... meh, but the good ones more than make up for it and the essays are fascinating.
Leah
Nov 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
If I were to recommend Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England that recommendation would be primarily for its small collection of contemporary fairy tales, only two of which I'd read before. The analyses and criticisms, while interesting and potentially educational for newbies, read somewhat like old news. This was first published in 1986 so the outdated vibe is understandable, though I would be curious what a revised edition might offer this centu ...more
Jennifer
One's overall opinion on this book will likely depend on how much of the book you actually read. This was a great book if you only read the "Feminist Fairy Tales for Young (And Old) Readers" and "Feminist Fairy Tales for Old (And Young) Readers" sections and not the introduction or literary criticism. I found the essays to be dry and/or reading far too much into traditional folklore. (For example, a 1934 illustration of a father carrying a young Red Riding Hood on his shoulder at the end of the ...more
Juushika
Aug 20, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: status-borrowed
In three sections (following a lengthy introduction), editor Zipes compiles three revised, purportedly feminist takes on traditional fairy tales: Feminist Fairy Tales for Young (and Old) Readers and for Old (and Young) Readers, 17 modern fairy tales from authors like Tanith Lee, Jane Yolen, and Anne Sexton among others, and four pieces of feminist literary criticism on fairy tales. That a work purports to be feminist, however, does not necessarily make it so. Or, rather, a work can claim to be f ...more
Katie Kasben
Dec 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I LOVE THIS BOOK! I love every story, and the essays at the back have informed my whole life. I performed from this book in college, and now I'm using it with my class. SO thankful this book was written.
Erika Gill
Aug 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
great stories. I especially liked Bluebeard's egg.
Sarah
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a great combination of new stories and poignant criticism of the old stories.
Veronica
Apr 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Come for the fairy tales -- Margaret Atwood! Jane Yolen! Joanna Russ! -- and fell free to to leave before the literary criticism at the end.

Shout out to my mom for providing me with Petronella and only the later colors of Andrew Lang's Fairy Books.

If been reading this for a while, but didn't want to count it as done until I got through the arduously second wave essays at the end. And I'm glad I did -- I know it's only because they happened that I think the way I do, and they still aren't obvio
...more
Amanda
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I haven't enjoyed a book of short stories as much in years. Tales where girls and women find find their way through the very familiar fairy-tale world through their own smarts and determination. There are talking dogs, witches (good and bad), quests, true love and other varieties of love not-so-true. The thread that runs through them is that each story features a girl who, eventually, is her own heroine. Buy it and read it to your little girls so they can grow up smart and strong and have their ...more
Lynn
Sep 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children
I made my daughters listen to this book, which I loved. It is a collection of fairy feminist fairy tales.

I think it should be required reading for all little girls - probably boys too. Actually, a lot of adults women I know could probably benefit too. You really need this book to counteract all the bs in the traditional fairy tales, to say nothing of other types of books, magazines, advertising, etc. that set up very unrealistic expectations to put it mildly. It is great that it seems to be stil
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martha
May 08, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
Pretty charming collection of fairy tales with a feminist twist, bookended by a critical theory introduction and academic essays on the subject. The stories are in two sections, really basic fairy tales for younger readers, with simple twists like a questing princess instead of a prince, and more adult, complex ones -- which I wish I'd realized, since I was a little disappointed at first thinking there were only the simple stories. This was published in the 80s, so the criticism feels a tad date ...more
Marie
Oct 17, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an okay book. I mainly enjoyed the "adult" tales and the scholarly essays. I wish I could write a more detailed review, but since it took me so long to finish reading this, coupled with the fact that I was pretty much underwhelmed by the whole thing, I simply don't want to expend the energy coming up with ways to say that this was meh.



On the plus side, there's a really good short story by Margaret Atwood in there and it inspired me to hunt down her work so I can read them.
Diana
Dec 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love everything Jack Zipes writes, and this book is no exception. This anthology is wonderful because he includes wonderful variations on well-known fairy tales, intriguing lesser-known tales, and insightful critical essays and commentary. I use this book as one of the assigned texts for a course I teach on the "revised" fairy tale. My students love it at the same time their romantic illusions about fairy tales as "sweet children's-happily ever after tales" are irrevocably shattered! I highly ...more
Scout
Feb 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
An anthology of contemporary feminist tale, "Don't Bet on the Prince" contains the mystical fantasies we all heard as children and turns them into a feminist tale still filled with the mystique and wonder of those tales that were told to us as children. Some of them new, some rewritten, some old, all the same these are the tales I'd tell a child growing up in the 21st century over tales such as "Sleeping Beauty" in which a man is always necessary.
Toby
Apr 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, professional
I've dipped in and out of this book in the past but this is the first time I'm reading it cover to cover. Jack Zipes is a well-known fairy tale scholar and his introduction may be deeper background than I need but the stories themselves are accessible, with a strong feminist bias - and I mean that in the nicest possible way. Keep in mind that stories in this collection were written in the 1980's with the intention of offering an antidote to the male-dominant world of traditional tales.
Amanda
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Jack Zipes collects in this volume a selection of some of the best feminist fairy tales written up to 1986. Of course Tanith Lee and Angela Carter are in there, but also authors I had never heard of before. The critical section in the back interested me much less than the stories themselves, but that may just be because after twenty years the criticism seems dated and sort of, well, "duh."
Brandon Leighton
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a collection of modern fairy tales/modern revisions of classic fairy tales told from a feminist-friendly perspective. My favorites were The Princess Who Stood on Her Own Two Feet, Snow White (which could serve as the official fairy tale of the Occupy movement!), and The Moon Ribbon. There are also some great feminist lit crit articles at the end of the book.
Sarah
May 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
I loved the feminist fairy tales in this book. A bit dated, but still enjoyable. But Jack Zipes drives me absolutely crazy. The only thing more humorless than a feminist is a marxist feminist. This isn't to say he isn't a good scholar, but his writing style (and a bit of his method) grated on me.
Lisa Huang
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Kept picking up and putting down this book over the past few years. But it was never a book I intended to give up on. It's quite heavy and in-depth in its feminist analysis of fairy tales. I really enjoyed Zipes' selections and his researched opinion. I look forward to reading more of his works in the future.
Sue
Nov 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I cringe when I see the title "feminist fairy tales". This book transcends this type of narrow minded categorization. The stories are just simply good stories of men/women or boys/girls who are heros. I used to read this to my nephew when he was small (oh so many years ago) and this was his favorite story book.
Kimberly
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: college-lit, own-copy
I read this in a college Children's Literature Class. I loved it! I think today books and children's shows like The Paperbag Princess is a result of looking at the traditional Fairy tales from a Feminist perspective
Candace Pettit
Mar 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fairy-tales
Too often "feminist" turns less into an idea of girl power and more into nothing more than anti-male propaganda. This delightful little collection of retold tales thankfully doesn't fall prey to that tendency and they make an enjoyable read. My particular favorite is Petronella.
Raven
Jun 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My husband picked out this well chosen book for me. I have given it five stars instead of 4 because of its high degree of relevance to recent reading, personal studies, and also for its scholarly bent and Zipes.

(I intend to write a little more about it later. We will see if I get to it.)
Karin
Dec 10, 2015 rated it liked it
There is a lot of analyzing and interpreting ,better to just enjoy the stories.
Jesse Freedom
The Princess Who Stood on Her Own Two Feet
2/10
I liked the moral, but I did not like this ablest and speciest story.
(view spoiler)
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Stacy
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
A collection of re-imagined fairy tales. I am not familiar with the wide range of folk tales out there, so some stories, like Russalka, seemed new and original to me (please correct me if this is not).

I read this purely for some interesting fairy tales, though I did skim through some of the feminist literary criticism at the end. A lot of what I was seeing was not new to me: many stories center on women as passive forces, with marriage and riches as common endings for those who have been "chose
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Jack David Zipes is a retired Professor of German at the University of Minnesota. He has published and lectured extensively on the subject of fairy tales, their linguistic roots, and argued that they have a "socialization function". According to Zipes, fairy tales "serve a meaningful social function, not just for compensation but for revelation: the worlds projected by the best of our fairy tales ...more