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Reprinting, Revising or Remodeling?

Should Ernst’s works (or any oral or literary fairy tales)  be reprinted, revised or modified to meet the needs and preferences of a twenty-first century audience? We know the re-working of fairy tales is common. When the Brothers Grimm published their first volume ofKinder- und Hausmärchen[Children and Household Tales](Grimm, 1812) containing eighty-six numbered and collected fairy and folktales they could not have foreseen the variety of adaptations of the tales two hundred years later.Hundreds of versions in different languages, audio books, cartoons, anime, horror and interactive worlds now exist.
It could be argued that Grimm’s Fairy Tales should not enjoy continuing popularity in an era where the riddle of Rumpelstiltskin’s name could be easily solved using a search engine (Gollob, 2012) but they continue to be adapted for our era. In 2012, in readiness for the two hundredyear anniversary of the publication of the Grimm’s first collection, a number of new films appeared to re-tel…

What's your favourite fairy tale?

Invited to join the conversation on fairy tales on Life Matters on Friday with Jack Zipes, eminent fairy tale researcher and Kate Forsyth, author of one of my favourite books, The Wild Girl, I was challenged to name by favourite Australian fairy tales by a Glen Iris Primary parent who had listened to the conversation on my return to school. Life Matters Of the classics I choose Cinderella, fascinated by the way inanimate objects such as pumpkins turn into golden coaches and the importance of finding some-one with the 'right fit' for a relationship (if only by the tangible and symbolic search via glass slipper).  My Australian choice is a small book of which there is only one known copy in the State Library, Victoria: Rosalie's Reward; or the fairy treasure. It has some of the elements of the Cinderella fairy tale: an impoverished child abandoned (through financial necessity) by her mother, a Prince who rescues her and a group of fairies who do the work of the traditional sin…

Do early Australian fairy tales interest children today?

Or does their appeal remain fixed in the era they were written? Hart (1950) made the point that, ‘books flourish when they answer a need and die when they do not’ (285) and it is worth considering for example the fairytales of Tarella Quin whose fairy tale books were reprinted numerous times. Quin (aka Quin Daskein), published her first fairy tale, Gum Tree Brownie in 1907[1] with enlargements and variations appearing with regularity in 1918, 1925, 1934 and 1983. Perhaps, the reason is that her publisher - still publishing one hundred years later allowed the opportunity for re-publishing out-of-print books if it was believed that public taste indicated a book may become popular again.
However, when Gum Tree Brownie was republished as The Other Side of Nowhere: Fairy Stories of the Never Never (1983) two stories that did not suit the current socio-cultural world were omitted. Cruelty and death are not seen as suitable topics for children’s books today - or at least not in the way they w…

My Thesis - what's it about?

I am always thrilled to be contacted by those who by chance find my blog. I have been blogging for three years and am hoping to complete my first draft by the end of the year. I thought it timely to re-publish what has already been published. The following is from my presentation at the University of Kassel, Germany. In 1904 Olga Ernst, a pupil teacher, wrote Fairy Tales from the Land of the Wattle. Although she was just sixteen years old, Ernst was one of a small group of writers in Australia who attempted to nationalise the fairytale towards the end of the nineteenth century, signalling quite clearly that they intended to affix the elves and fairies of Europe onto the Australian landscape aiming to fill a void that was keenly felt by the children of emigrants and the Australian-born children of emigrants. (Walker, 1988) The beginnings of the Australian bush fantasy genre can be linked with the desire to bring the comfortable and familiar into the new and distinctly non-European landsc…

Placing 'Australia' in fairy tales

At Brighton Historical Society (Bayside Art of Words Literary Festival)  today I began my talk about Olga Waller (Ernst) who was a resident of Brighton, with a brief exploration of early Australian fairytales. A small group of Australian writers realised the importance of setting narrative firmly in distinctly recognisable localities for Australian children. Ethel Turner and Mary Grant Bruce, contemporaries of Ernst, chose a different genre. Of the total children’s books published between 1870 and Ernst's Fairytales of the Land of the Wattle only about a dozen were fairy tales. 
The fairies in Rosalie's Reward live in the rundown flower garden of a cottage near the Ballaraat goldfields and when the 'fairy godmother' appears it is in the form of an old (and rich) miner. J.R.Lockeyeare’s  Mr. Bunyip is a kind hearted chap giving some social and historical pointers to an eager Mary Somerville who has strayed from the path in a ‘Red Riding Hood like’ ramble. Charles Marson …