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Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England Paperback – November 15, 1986

ISBN-13: 978-0415902632 ISBN-10: 0415902630 Edition: 2nd

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Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England + Favorite Folktales from Around the World (The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2nd edition (November 15, 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415902630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415902632
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #622,472 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Kevin L. Nenstiel TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 20, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is divided into three parts. The first, "Feminist Fairy Tales for Young (and Old) Readers," is the selection of stories you want to read aloud to your daughter or son. These stories have sophisticated subjects and good language, but no lengthy exposition of narrative that bogs down a reading out loud. Most set up admirable gender roles, but some, such as "Snow White," are explicitly political, and can help you raise good activists.
The second section, "Feminist Fairy Tales for Old (and Young) Readers," is comprised of more structurally complex stories that invite a silent reader to take time and try to swallow them. Though intended for adult readers, literate children can follow them, and for the most part should be encouraged to do so early and often. Sex roles and social station dominate these stories, but we get glimpses of how these issues are impacted by war, work, and more.
The third section, "Feminist Literary Criticism," is pretty slow-moving. Most of us are already familiar with the idea that fairy tales have detrimental effects on our children, especially our daughters, and while we may be briefly interested in a scholarly explanation of why this is so, the common reader won't get as much good out of this part as the previous two.
Educator, writer, and scholar Jack Zipes has compiled here an excellent antidote to the stultifying fairy tales that molded the minds of most of us when we were young. Zipes is the editor of several thematic books of fairy tales, and this is neither the least nor the last. Whether you approach this work as a parent, a reader, or a scholar, this book is highly rewarding.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
I read this first as a little girl, before i knew how to spell feminism let alone define it. The stories captivated me then for their ability to lead my mind into another land more fantastical than my own. Later in life, re-reading this book i was compelled by the issues, thoughts and questions Zipes raised in my mind. It is not feminism that kills you with its anger, it is feminism that makes you think. Sometimes whimsical, sometimes daring, and sometimes blatant, it always stands there to be read and re-read. A constant delight.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Julia Starkey on April 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is such an amazing book. It's part of what lead me into my research into looking at strong female characters in folk tales. This book is a must for people who don't want to read stories about wishy washy princesses waiting for the prince, and scholars alike. I reccomend this book highly.
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Format: Paperback
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 feminist, can aim to be feminist, and still fall short of the mark--as is the case here. First, it's Zipes that drags down the anthology. In his overlong introduction and concluding critical essay, he's given to cumbersome academic dialog and bold leaps of reasoning, a tendency towards form (in place of content) which makes for inscrutable, unsubstantiated arguments. Those arguments are promising, but they beg clearer, more thorough address. The anthology's second weakness is the stories themselves. There are some gems--most provided by the authors mentioned above, and Carter's "The Donkey Prince" and Atwood's "Bluebeard's Egg" also appear on my list of favorites. But there are many stories which fail to push their feminist premises far enough, leaving them open to worrying commentary.

"In none of these tales is marriage a necessity or a goal for young women, rather it is a possibility which may or may not enter their plans. [...] In addition, the lives and careers of the young women are not telologically [sic] shaped by marriage (17)," writes Zipes in his introduction, yet in a surprising number of Prince's stories marriage is presumed--and in more, female energy is focused on male figures, roles, and relationships.
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