Fairy Tale Essay Introduction

Fairy Tale Essay Introduction-81
This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken.

This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken.

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It is all very well to talk of the freedom of fairyland, but there was precious little freedom in fairyland by the best official accounts. Yeats's school suggests that in that world every one is a capricious god. Yeats himself has said a hundred times in that sad and splendid literary style which makes him the first of all poets now writing in English (I will not say of all English poets, for Irishmen are familiar with the practice of physical assault), he has, I say, called up a hundred times the picture of the terrible freedom of the fairies, who typify the ultimate anarchy of art - "Where nobody grows old or weary or wise, Where nobody grows old or godly or grave." But, after all (it is a shocking thing to say), I doubt whether Mr. I think the poets have made a mistake: because the world of the fairy-tales is a brighter and more varied world than ours, they have fancied it less moral; really it is brighter and more varied because it is more moral. It is impossible, of course, because nothing human can happen in a modern prison, though it could sometimes in an ancient dungeon.

Yeats really knows the real philosophy of the fairies. Though I say it who should not, in good sound human stupidity I would knock Mr. A modern prison is always inhuman, even when it is not inhumane.

If you really read the fairy-tales, you will observe that one idea runs from one end of them to the other - the idea that peace and happiness can only exist on some condition.

This idea, which is the core of ethics, is the core of the nursery-tales.

The whole happiness of fairyland hangs upon a thread, upon one thread.

Cinderella may have a dress woven on supernatural looms and blazing with unearthly brilliance; but she must be back when the clock strikes twelve.A girl may be the bride of the God of Love himself if she never tries to see him; she sees him, and he vanishes away.A girl is given a box on condition she does not open it; she opens it, and all the evils of this world rush out at her.Now, it is obvious that there are many philosophical and religious ideas akin to or symbolised by this; but it is not with them I wish to deal here.It is surely obvious that all ethics ought to be taught to this fairy-tale tune; that, if one does the thing forbidden, one imperils all the things provided.Instead of finding (like common books of ethics) a rationalistic basis for each Commandment, they find the great mystical basis for all Commandments.We are in this fairyland on sufferance; it is not for us to quarrel with the conditions under which we enjoy this wild vision of the world. Originally published in 1908, this text comes from the 1915 edition.The fairy-tales are at root not only moral in the sense of being innocent, but moral in the sense of being didactic, moral in the sense of being moralising. Science denounces the idea of a capricious God; but Mr. And I have my doubts whether this feeling of the free, wild spirits on the crest of hill or wave is really the central and simple spirit of folk-lore.But suppose a man were born in a modern prison, and grew accustomed to the deadly silence and the disgusting indifference; and suppose he were then suddenly turned loose upon the life and laughter of Fleet Street.He would, of course, think that the literary men in Fleet Street were a free and happy race; yet how sadly, how ironically, is this the reverse of the case!


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