The Grimms Fairy Tales (and other classic fairy stories) get the metaphysical christian treatment in this wonderful book, along with psychological insight. This kind of focus and take on the fairy tales makes the book truly unique and uniquely elucidating.
Whereas there are many books on fairy tales that are based on literary criticism or social commentary, this one uses an altogether different approach - this author has in mind some of the basic christian mysteries (in a somewhat gnostic way) along with a kind of mythic psychology to see and listen to The Wisdom of Fairy Tales; whether its "Snow White and Red Rose" or "The Lilting, Leaping Lark". The book is earnest in its study and interest without it turning to any agenda i.e. there is no kind of "politics" in the author's interpretations - just the inner wisdom and light (and faith, if you will) of the fairy tale - a revealing of wonder of soul and life.
It may take some determination and diligence to read but it is worth it if you are really interested in fairy tales. Just about 260 pages the book it not laborious or strenuous in its temperament but ultimately uplifting and friendly to the health of mind, heart and life.
I would also recommend here "On Fairy-Stories" - an essay by J. R. R. Tolkien. Tolkien states that it is the "eucatastrophe" that is at the heart of the true fairy tale - the happy ending - a turn for the good, that sense of gift and true life - where life truly is; "a moment passes outside the frame, rends indeed the very web of story,..", the story of our mortal minds "recovered and changed by an outside perspective" - revealing a "Resurrection" to truth, spirit and wellbeing that is our true image and likeness. (the quotations, of course, are from Tolkien, the rest is my wording and my little interpretation on Tolkien's essay).
Tolkien's essay can be found in the book; The Tolkien Reader.
The Wisdom of Fairy Tales is written by Rudolf Meyer, translated from german in 1981 by Polly Lawson.
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About the reviewer
gary c. esposito (gawain)
lovefolklore and fairy tales -my favorite two books for many years now is 'The Wisdom of Fairy Tales' by Meyer and 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight '. as movies … more