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The Red Fairy Book

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The Red Fairy Book - illustrated

By Andrew Lang (Editor)

a book that influenced jrr tolkien
With introduction by Cecilia Dart-Thornton
Illustrated by H.J. Ford and Lancelot Speed. First published 1907


Andrew Lang's Fairy Books captured the imagination of a generation of children and were sold worldwide in the 1880s and 1890s.
J.R.R. Tolkien read and enjoyed every book in the series, and they had a marked influence on his imagination. He once stated, ‘In English none probably rival either the popularity, or the inclusiveness, or the general merits of the twelve books of twelve colours which we owe to Andrew Lang and to his wife’. He added, ‘I have been a lover of fairy stories since I learned to read.’

One of Tolkien’s favourites was ‘The Red Fairy Book’, because it contained one of the most powerful dragon legends in northern literature, that of Fafnir from the ‘Volsung Saga.’

‘The dragon’, said Tolkien, ‘had the trade-mark of Faerie written plain upon him. In whatever world he had his being it was an Other-world. Fantasy, the making or glimpsing of Other-worlds, was the heart of the desire of Faërie. I desired dragons with a profound desire. . . the world that contained even the imagination of Fafnir was richer and more beautiful, at whatever cost of peril.’

H.J. Ford was a successful illustrator of the fantastical and the romantic. Lancelot Speed was another famous Victorian artist, best known for his illustrations for the Fairy Books. He drew the pictures for ‘King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table’ and ‘Eric Brighteyes’, two more stories we know Tolkien admired.
There is no doubt that Tolkien’s love of The Red Fairy Book contributed to his creation of ‘The Hobbit’ and ‘The Lord of the Rings’.

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Product Details
  • Publication Date: Jun 01 2013

    ISBN/EAN13: 0987555421 / 9780987555427

    Page Count: 468
    Binding Type: US Trade Paper

    Trim Size: 6" x 9"

    Language: English

    Color: Black and White

    Related Categories: Fiction / Fairy Tales, Folklore & Mythology
     
     
More About the Creators

> Andrew Lang on Wikipedia

Dart-Thornton

Biography

Andrew Lang's Fairy Books—also known as Andrew Lang's "Coloured" Fairy Books or Andrew Lang's Fairy Books of Many Colors—are a series of twelve collections of fairy tales, published between 1889 and 1910. Each volume is distinguished by its own color. In all, 437 tales from a broad range of cultures and countries are presented.

Andrew Lang (1844–1912) was a Scots poet, novelist, and literary critic. Although he did not collect the stories himself from the oral tradition, the extent of his sources, who had collected them originally—with the notable exception of Madame d'Aulnoy—made the collections immensely influential. Lang gave many of the tales their first appearance in English. As acknowledged in the prefaces, although Lang himself made most of the selections, his wife and other translators did a large portion of the translating and retelling of the actual stories.

According to Anita Silvey, "The irony of Lang's life and work is that although he wrote for a profession—literary criticism; fiction; poems; books and articles on anthropology, mythology, history, and travel…he is best recognized for the works he did not write."

Many of the books were illustrated by Henry J. Ford, with Lancelot Speed and G. P. Jacomb-Hood also contributing some illustrations.

More About the Illustrators
Ford's "Rumpelstiltskin"
'Rumpelstiltskin'
by H. J. Ford

Biography

Henry Justice Ford (1860–1941) was a prolific and successful artist and illustrator, active from 1886 through to the late 1920s. Sometimes known as H. J. Ford or Henry J. Ford, he came to public attention when he provided the numerous beautiful illustrations for Andrew Lang's Fairy Books, which captured the imagination of a generation of British children and were sold worldwide in the 1880s and 1890s. In 1892, Ford began exhibiting paintings of historical subjects and landscapes at the Royal Academy of Art exhibitions. However it was his illustrations for such books as The Arabian Nights Entertainments (Longmans 1898), Kenilworth (TC & EC Jack 1900) and A School History of England' by Charles Fletcher and Rudyard Kipling (Clarendon Press 1911) that provided Ford with both income and fame.

 

Speed's "Elaine of Astolat" (1919)
Speed's 'Elaine of Astolat' (1919)

Biography

Lancelot Speed (1860–1931) was a famous Victorian illustrator of books, usually of a fantastical or romantic nature. He is probably most well known for his illustrations for Andrew Lang's fairy story books. Speed is credited as the designer on the 1916 silent movie version of the novel She by H. Rider Haggard, which he had illustrated. He was also the director of a number of early British silent films.


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