Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

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Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall:  Women Writers Explore Their Favorite Fairy Tales

Anchor/Vintage, 1998

Second expanded edition, Random House 2002

341 pages | 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.8 inches

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Publisher’s Description:  Fairy tales are one of the most enduring forms of literature, their plots retold and characters reimagined for centuries. In this elegant and thought-provoking collection of original essays, Kate Bernheimer brings together twenty-eight leading women writers to discuss how these stories helped shape their imaginations, their craft, and our culture. In poetic narratives, personal histories, and penetrating commentary, the assembled authors bare their soul and challenge received wisdom. Eclectic and wide-ranging, Mirror, Mirror on the Wall is essential reading for anyone who has ever been bewitched by the strange and fanciful realm of fairy tales.

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. Library Journal


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