Cristina Bacchilega. Fairy Tales Transformed?: Twenty-First-Century Adaptations & the Politics of Wonder.

Author:Schwabe, Claudia

Cristina Bacchilega. Fairy Tales Transformed?: Twenty-First-Century Adaptations & the Politics of Wonder. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. 2013. Pp. x + 290, introduction, 60 color plates, epilogue, notes, works cited, filmography, index, acknowledgements.

Once again, accomplished fairy-tale scholar Cristina Bacchilega has produced a superb, thoroughly researched, and well-rounded book of the highest academic and scholarly standards. Fairy Tales Transformed? gives the reader valuable insights into recent fairytale scholarship and the politics of wonder at work in the contemporary production and reception of fairy tales.

Divided into an intriguing introduction, four elaborately structured and styled chapters, and a compelling epilogue, the book highlights interwoven-and-yet-divergent social projects envisioned and instigated by fairy-tale adaptations circulating in modern popular culture. Bacchilega investigates how, why, and for whom fairy tales have been changed in the twenty-first century--essential questions that must be asked in today's fairytale scholarship. The intertextual links of fairy tales, for instance, no longer refer back to the canonized Perrault-Grimm-Disney triad as central pre-texts. In Chapter One, fairy tales are linked hypertextually and the power dynamics within and among fairy-tale texts have changed. Bacchilega notes that fairy tales have become a multimedia phenomenon and this recognition has not only informed scholarly perspectives, but also taken hold in popular consciousness thanks to the electronic accessibility of fairy tales via websites, blogs, social networks, and online publications. Basing her methodology on a conceptualized "fairy-tale web" of reading and writing practices, Bacchilega argues that we should consider the gender politics of fairy-tale retellings in relation to other dynamics of power and experiences of disjunction. She also stresses that we should "reexamine the relationship of the fairy tale with other genres, including the folktale, as constitutive of its hybridity, in order to become better attuned to competing uses of magic, enchantment, and wonder across cultures and media platforms" (ix). One of the more prevalent transformations of the fairy tale today, described in Chapter Three, has to do with genre mixing, which places the fairy tale in new dynamics of competition and alliance with other genres. While the author analyzes primarily literary and cinematic fairy-tale...

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