The Yellow Fairy Book

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Author: Lang, Andrew (1844-1912) [editor]

Year: 1894

Publisher: Longmans, Green and Co

Place: London and New York


xvi+521+[2 ad] pages with illustrations. Small octavo (7 1/4" x 5") bound in yellow cloth with yellow lettering to spine and embossed pictorial of a fairy to front cover. Edges in gilt. 15,000 copies printed of the first edition.

Andrew Lang (1844-1912) was a Scots poet, novelist, and literary critic. Although he did not collect the stories himself from oral primary sources only Madame d'Aulnoy and Lang had collected tales from such a large variety of sources, which 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. Lang's urge to gather and publish fairy tales was rooted in his own experience with the folk and fairy tales of his home territory along the English-Scottish border. At the time he worked, English fairy-tale collections were rare: Dinah Maria Mulock Craik's The Fairy Book (1869) was a lonely precedent. When Lang began his efforts, he "was fighting against the critics and educationists of the day", who judged the traditional tales' "unreality, brutality, and escapism to be harmful for young readers, while holding that such stories were beneath the serious consideration of those of mature age". Over a generation, Lang's books worked a revolution in this public perception. The Fairy series was immensely popular, helped by Lang's reputation in folklore, and by the packaging device of the uniform books. The series proved of great influence in children's literature, increasing the popularity of fairy tales over tales of real life. The collections were specifically intended for children, and, as Lang explained in the prefaces to the books, bowdlerized. The books were primarily illustrated by Henry J. Ford. Lancelot Speed and G. P. Jacomb-Hood also contributed some illustrations.


Some soiling to cover, corners bumped and rubbed, spine ends rubbed else about very good issued without jacket.

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