The Fairy Tellers
Fairy-tales are not just fairy-tales: they are records of historical phenomena, telling us something about how Western civilisation was formed. In this book, travel-writer Nick Jubber explores their secret history of fairy-tales: the people who told them, the landscapes that forged them, and the cultures that formed them.
‘His cornucopia of tellers and tales is a delight, a riveting celebration of a genre that revels in its own hybridity and the imaginative riches produced by the crossing of cultural and literary borders’ Financial Times
‘Like a child after the Pied Piper I pursued Jubber into a world both human and full of magic. A carnival of a book, rigorously researched and jostling with life‘ Amy Jeffs, author of Storyland: A New Mythology of Britain
‘Magical tales about magical tales and tellers. Jubber, congenially and fascinatingly, explores the land from which the great fairy stories seeped, making the stories more resonant, powerful and important than ever‘ Charles Foster, author of Being a Human and Being a Beast
The surprising origins and people behind the world’s most influential magical tales: the people who told and re-shaped them, the landscapes that forged them, and the cultures that formed them and were in turn formed by them.
Who were the Fairy Tellers?
In this far-ranging quest, award-winning author Nicholas Jubber unearths the lives of the dreamers who made our most beloved fairy tales: inventors, thieves, rebels and forgotten geniuses who gave us classic tales such as ‘Cinderella’, ‘Hansel and Gretel’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Baba Yaga’.
From the Middle Ages to the birth of modern children’s literature, they include a German apothecary’s daughter, a Syrian youth running away from a career in the souk and a Russian dissident embroiled in a plot to kill the tsar.
Following these and other unlikely protagonists, we travel from the steaming cities of Italy and the Levant, under the dark branches of the Black Forest, deep into the tundra of Siberia and across the snowy fells of Lapland. In the process, we discover a fresh perspective on some of our most frequently told stories. Filled with adventure, tragedy and real-world magic, this bewitching book uncovers the stranger lives behind the strangest of tales.