30 Nov 2016

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Jan 2016
The Turnip Princess - Franz Xaver von Schönwerth, tr. Erika Eichenseer - Penguin Books, 2015

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Here is an interesting thing: a collection of fairy tales recorded in the early nineteenth century and only recently rediscovered in a municipal archive in Regensberg. They were collected by von Schönwerth a couple of hundred miles away from the area around Marburg where the Brothers Grimm worked. It is therefore hardly surprising that some of the tales seem distinctly familiar - Ashfeathers, for example, is essentially Cinderella dialled down a social notch, with an innkeeper father, a nobleman lover rather than a prince, a dwarf in place of the fairy godmother and dressing up for church replacing going to the ball. Many of the other stories are variations on the old theme of a prince or princess transformed by a spell, but it is interesting to see the imaginative inventiveness of the whimsical details that the different tellers came up with. The title story, for example, concerns a prince who more-or-less inadvertently breaks a curse by sticking a blackthorn branch into a turnip in a field.
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