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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales Paperback – March 16, 1998


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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales + My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales + xo Orpheus: Fifty New Myths
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 341 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reissue edition (March 16, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385486812
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385486811
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #422,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Long, long ago before fairy tales were sanitized, generations of bloodthirsty children enjoyed the ghoulish stories packed between book covers by Hans Christian Andersen and the brothers Grimm. Their plots seethed with curious, featherbrained girls who sealed their doom by opening forbidden doors; resourceful siblings deliberately lost in the woods by weak, loving fathers; and boys left with wings for arms when a hurried transformation was bungled. Margaret Atwood, Francine Prose, and Fay Weldon are among the 24 contemporary women authors in Mirror, Mirror on the Wall who contribute lucid, powerful essays on the fears, morals, and archetypes fairy tales scrawl out in letters ten-feet tall. --Francesca Coltrera, Women's Studies contributing editor

From Library Journal

Editor Bernheimer, formerly a creative writing fellow at Phillips Exeter Academy, has brought together 24 contemporary women writers to discuss the impact of fairy tales on their personal lives, their work, and the cultures in which they were raised. Authors such as Julia Alvarez, Margaret Atwood, Rosellen Brown, A.S. Byatt, bell hooks, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Joyce Carol Oates, and Linda Gray Sexton write diverse essays, from personal histories to scholarly explications of the tales that continue to resonate, from childhood into adulthood. Amidst a plethora of works on the symbolism and archetypal significance of fairy tales as well as heated debate in many forums concerning the merits of Disney's animated versions, this is a refreshingly honest look at the genre on a realistic and personal level as well as a revealing look at the writers themselves. Recommended for gender studies collections in all school, academic, and public libraries.?Katherine K. Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Kate Bernheimer is the author of the story collection Horse, Flower, Bird (Coffee House Press), and a trilogy of fairy-tale novels that concluded in 2011 with The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold. Her second story collection, How a Mother Weaned Her Girl from Fairy Tales, is forthcoming in 2014 from Coffee House Press. She is also editor of the World Fantasy Award winning anthology My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales (Penguin Non-Classics, 2010), with a new anthology, xo Orpheus: 50 New Myths, forthcoming in September 2013 from Penguin. Her most recent children's book is The Girl Who Wouldn't Brush Her Hair, illustrated by Jake Parker (Random House/Schwartz and Wade). Other picture books include The Lonely Book, illustrated by Chris Sheban, an "Amazon Best Books of the Month" selection, and The Girl in The Castle inside The Museum, illustrated by Nicoletta Ceccoli, which was named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2008. She founded and edits the literary journal Fairy Tale Review and has spoken on fairy tales as a contemporary form at such places as The Museum of Modern Art, Harvard University, Washington University in St. Louis, and elsewhere. She teaches in the MFA Program at the University of Arizona.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
This collection was a splendid idea on the part of editor Kate Bernheimer. It's fascinating to see how many superb contemporary female writers (I dislike the term "woman writer"--have you ever heard of a "man writer"?) have been inspired or influenced by specific fairy tales, often in astonishing ways. Each writer was asked to respond to a question about how she herself responded to one or more fairy tales. The results range from fictional revisions of famous tales to meditations, confessions, or brief and very interesting scholarly essays. Bernheimer asked the right women, too: Margaret Atwood, Fay Weldon, Joyce Carol Oates, some young writers just starting out, and some surprises. I borrowed this book from the library and then realized that I had to buy my own copy!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 2, 1998
Format: Paperback
Some short, some long, these essays are everything from quick and wandering dialogues to beautifully crafted essays. They're not necessarily *about* anything in particular. The only thing they have in common is that the authors, many of whom will be known to you, use a fairy tale as a sounding board for their miscellaneous ideas... on girlhood, feminism, and storytelling. They are of wide variety (some are less ambitious than others), all engaging. The only downside is that it's a quick read -- more like reading magazine articles than an absorbing non-fiction book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
This collection of essays should have received a lot more attention as an important contribution to the folklore field when it was first published. I don't understand why it was not reviewed more broadly. Bernheimer's book should be of interest to anyone who reads or studies fairy tales -- and who doesn't?
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