My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales edited by Kate Bernheimer (2010)
If you think you know how every fairy tale is going to end, think again. In this illustrious new collection of post-modern fairytales, today’s top authors re-write, alter, and transform classic stories from the repertoires of Hans Christian Andersen, Goethe, and of course the Brothers Grimm. Contributors include Michael Cunningham, Kelly Link, Neil Labute, Karen Joy Fowler, Joyce Carol Oates, John Updike, Neil Gaiman, and there is even a foreward by Gregory Maguire—master of the modern fairy tale.
The Rose and the Beast: Fairy Tales Retold by Francesca Lia Block (2001)
Popular young adult novelist Francesca Lia Block has had her books called “pop fairy tales.” She takes that notion to heart with this twisted retelling of famous stories—including Beauty and the Beast—with her signature quirky young heroines living in a fantastical world. Sleeping Beauty becomes a club girl in L.A. who pricks her arm with a heroin needle. Beauty races through the redwood forest of the American West to get to her Beast. The Wolf chasing Red Riding Hood is in fact her own stepfather. These impressionistic adaptations take the outline of the classic fairy tale and apply them with metaphor to create resonance with today’s older teens. Recommended for ages 13 – 113.
The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales by Bruno Bettelheim (1978)
Why do we tell fairy tales? What cultural value do they have? Why do we keep returning to them for lessons for our children (and adults as well) through the generations? Child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim approaches these questions to uncover the reasoning behind the stories we tell. Ultimately, his grand assumption about our attraction to fairytales shows us how we use these narrative structures to unveil the actually meaning of life and correct interaction with the outside world.
Disney effectively carried its magic from the animated film of Beauty and the Beast to its Broadway incarnation—one of the longest running shows in theatre history. Classics from composer Alan Menken and lyric-writing duo Howard Ashman & Tim Rice like “Be Our Guest,” “Something There,” and of course “Beauty and the Beast” are accompanied by seven new songs written for the stage version. Experience the enchantment in an entirely new way.
Prolific composer Philip Glass fell so in love with Jean Cocteau’s 1946 film of La belle et la bête that he set out to record an entirely new operatic score for the mostly silent film. Glass lends his signature minimalism to the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast, complete with movie-house organ music on occasion. Through this music, Glass allows the audience to view the tale (and the vintage film) in a new, refreshing light.
Following Goethe (1999)
Belle has to wander into the deep dark woods in pursuit of her father, but what would that sound like? The landmark German author Goethe rose high enough in literary fame to warrant composers writing music to accompany his poems and stories. In this collection, many of the greats—Schumann, Schubert and Beethoven, among others—lend their musical abilities to Goethe’s words, creating the dark fairy tale landscape that inspired stories from the Brothers Grimm and others. Particularly striking is the dark and eerie “Der Erlkönig” about a son who meets death in the forest, even though his father can’t see the encroaching darkness.