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Classic fables and fairy tales

  • Aleksandr Afanas'ev   ( 1 Article )

    aleksandr-nikolaevic-afanasiev

    Alexander Nikolayevich Afanasyev (11 July 1826 – 23 October 1871) was a Russian folklorist who recorded and published over 600 Russian folktales and fairytales, by far the largest folktale collection by any one man in the world.

    His first collection was published in eight volumes from 1855–67, earning him the reputation of a Russian counterpart to the Brothers Grimm.

    Prior to Afanasyev's works in the 1850s, only a few attempts had ever been made to record or study the folk beliefs of peasant Russia.

    Though a written Russian language (Church Slavonic) had existed since the 10th century, it was used almost solely by the church and only for parochial written works. It was not until the 18th and 19th centuries that a sizable body of secular literature developed in the vernacular Russian.

    Thus, Afanasyev's collections made a highly valuable contribution to the dissemination and legitimization of Russian culture and folk belief. The influence of these folk tales can be seen in the works of many writers and composers, notably Rimsky-Korsakov (Sadko, The Snow Maiden) and Stravinsky (The Firebird, Petrushka, and L'Histoire du Soldat).

    (Wikipedia).

  • Brothers Grimm   ( 64 Articles )

    grimm

    The Brothers Grimm (German: Die Brüder Grimm), Jacob Grimm (January 4, 1785 – September 20, 1863) and Wilhelm Grimm (February 24, 1786 – December 16, 1859), were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who collected folklore and published several collections of it as Grimm's Fairy Tales, which became very popular.

    Jacob was an academic in philology, researching how the sounds in words shift over time (Grimm's law). Furthermore, he was a lawyer whose legal work, German Legal Antiquities (Deutsche Rechtsaltertümer) in 1828, made him a valuable source of about the origin and meaning of much legal historical idiomatic usage and symbolism.

    The brothers can be counted along with Karl Lachmann and Georg Friedrich Benecke as founding fathers of Germanic philology and German studies. Late in life they undertook the compilation of the first German dictionary.The first collection of fairy tales Children's and Household Tales (Kinder-und Hausmärchen) was published in 1812 with more than 200 fairy tales. Many of the stories had already been written by Charles Perrault in the late 1600s. They are among the best-known story tellers of European folktales, and their work popularized such stories as "Snow-White and Rose-Red" (Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot), "The Frog Prince" (Der Froschkönig), "Hansel and Gretel" (Hänsel und Gretel), "Rapunzel", "Rumpelstiltskin" (Rumpelstilzchen), "The Town Musicians of Bremen" (Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten), and "Snow White" (Schneewittchen).

    Taken from Wikipedia.

    Text sources:
    Project Gutenberg
    University of Pittsburgh

    Note: texts are taken from various translations on the web, with an explicit indication of free sharing license of public domain and no copyright. If you want to report some violation, please send an email to   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with your request and, if reasons are encountered, the text indicated will be immediately removed. Thank you for your cooperation.


  • Carlo Collodi   ( 2 Articles )

    412px-Collodicaricatura

    Carlo Lorenzini (November 24, 1826 – October 26, 1890), better known by the pen name Carlo Collodi, was an Italian children's writer known for the world-renowned fairy tale novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio.

    In 1875, he entered the domain of children's literature with Racconti delle fate, a translation of French fairy tales by Perrault. In 1876 Lorenzini wrote Giannettino (inspired by Alessandro Luigi Parravicini's Giannetto), the Minuzzolo, and Il viaggio per l'Italia di Giannettino, a series which explored the re-unification of Italy through the ironic thoughts and actions of the character Giannettino.

    Lorenzini became fascinated by the idea of using an amiable, rascally character as a means of expressing his own convictions through allegory. In 1880 he began writing Storia di un burattino ("The story of a marionette"), also called Le avventure di Pinocchio, which was published weekly in Il Giornale dei Bambini (the first Italian newspaper for children).

    (Wikipedia)

    Text sources:
    Project Gutenberg
    LibriVox

     

    Note: texts are taken from various translations on the web, with an explicit indication of free sharing license and no copyright. If you want to report some violation, please send an email to   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with your request and, if reasons are encountered, the text indicated will be immediately removed. Thank you for your cooperation.

  • Charles Dickens   ( 1 Article )

    dickens

    Biography

    Charles John Huffam Dickens (7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) was an English writer, generally considered to be the greatest novelist of the Victorian period and responsible for some of English literature's most iconic novels and characters.

    During his lifetime Dickens' works enjoyed unprecedented popularity and fame, and they remain popular today. It was in the twentieth century, however, that his literary genius was fully recognized by critics and scholars.

    Many of his works were originally published serially in monthly installments, a format of publication that Dickens himself helped popularise. Unlike other authors who completed novels before serialisation, Dickens often wrote the episodes as they were being serialised, and he often revised his plots and characters on the basis of readers' responses to a published episode.

    The practice lent his stories a particular rhythm, employing cliffhangers to keep the public looking forward to the next installment. The continuing popularity of his novels and short stories is such that they have never gone out of print.

    Dickens's work has been highly praised by writers such as Leo Tolstoy, George Orwell, and G. K. Chesterton for its realism, comedy, prose style, unique characterisations, and social criticism, though others, such as Henry James and Virginia Woolf, have criticised it as melodramatic, sentimental, and implausible.

    Curiosity

    Charles Dickens had, as a contemporary critic put it, a "queer name". The name Dickens was used in interjective exclamations like "What the Dickens!" as a substitute for "devil". It was recorded in the OED as originating from Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. It was also used in the phrase "to play the Dickens" in the meaning "to play havoc/mischief".

    'Boz' was Dickens's occasional pen-name, but was a familiar name in the Dickens household long before Charles became a famous author. It was actually taken from his youngest brother Augustus Dickens' family nickname 'Moses', given to him in honour of one of the brothers in The Vicar of Wakefield (one of the most widely read novels during the early 19th century). When playfully pronounced through the nose 'Moses' became 'Boses', and was later shortened to 'Boz' – pronounced through the nose with a long vowel 'o'.

    (Wikipedia)

    Text sources:
    Penn State University
    Project Gutenberg

    Note: texts are taken from various translations on the web, with an explicit indication of free sharing license and no copyright. If you want to report some violation, please send an email to    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with your request and, if reasons are encountered, the text indicated will be immediately removed. Thank you for your cooperation.

  • Charles Perrault   ( 7 Articles )

    ChPerrault

    Charles Perrault (12 January 1628 – 16 May 1703) was a French author and member of the Académie française.

    He laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales. The best known of his tales include Le Petit Chaperon rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), Cendrillon (Cinderella), Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots) and La Barbe bleue (Bluebeard). Many of Perrault's stories were rewritten by the Brothers Grimm, continue to be printed and have been adapted to opera, ballet (such as Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty), theatre, and film (Disney).

    Perrault was an influential figure in the 17th century French literary scene, and was the leader of the Modern faction during the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns.

    (Source: Wikipedia)


    "Once there was a gentleman who married, for his second wife, theproudest and most haughty woman that was ever seen. She had, by aformer husband, two daughters of her own humour and they were indeedexactly like her in all things. He had likewise, by another wife, ayoung daughter, but of unparalleled goodness and sweetness of temper,which she took from her mother, who was the best creature in theworld."

    (Cinderilla)

     

  • Hans Christian Andersen   ( 202 Articles )

    Hans_Christian_Andersen

    Hans Christian Andersen (April 2, 1805 – August 4, 1875) was a Danish author, fairy tale writer, and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," "The Snow Queen," "The Little Mermaid," "Thumbelina," "The Little Match Girl," and "The Ugly Duckling."

    During his lifetime he was acclaimed for having delighted children worldwide, and was feted by royalty. His poetry and stories have been translated into more than 150 languages. They have inspired motion pictures, plays, ballets, and animated films.

    (Wikipedia)

    Text sources:
    The H.C. Center 
    Project Gutenberg 

    Note: texts are taken from various translations on the web, with an explicit indication of free sharing license and no copyright. If you want to report some violation, please send an email to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  with your request and, if reasons are encountered, the text indicated will be immediately removed. Thank you for your cooperation.

  • James Matthew Barrie   ( 17 Articles )

    james-matthew-Barrie

    Biography

    Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM (9 May 1860 – 19 June 1937) was a Scottish author and dramatist, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan. The child of a family of small-town weavers, he was educated in Scotland.

    He moved to London, where he developed a career as a novelist and playwright.

    There he met the Llewelyn Davies boys who inspired him in writing about a baby boy who has magical adventures in Kensington Gardens (included in The Little White Bird), then to write Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, a "fairy play" about this ageless boy and an ordinary girl named Wendy who have adventures in the fantasy setting of Neverland.

    This play quickly overshadowed his previous work and although he continued to write successfully, it became his best-known work, credited with popularising the name Wendy, which was very uncommon previously.

    Barrie unofficially adopted the Davies boys following the deaths of their parents. Before his death, he gave the rights to the Peter Pan works to Great Ormond Street Hospital, which continues to benefit from them.

    Peter Pan and Wendy

    Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up or Peter and Wendy is J. M. Barrie's most famous work, in the form of a 1904 play and a 1911 novel, respectively.

    Both versions tell the story of Peter Pan, a mischievous little boy who can fly, and his adventures on the island of Neverland with Wendy Darling and her brothers, the fairy Tinker Bell, the Lost Boys, the Indian princess Tiger Lily, and the pirate Captain Hook.

    The play and novel were inspired by Barrie's friendship with the Llewelyn Davies family. Barrie continued to revise the play for years after its debut; the novel reflects one version of the story.

    (Wikipedia)

    Note: texts are taken from various translations on the web, with an explicit indication of free sharing license and no copyright. If you want to report some violation, please send an email to   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with your request and, if reasons are encountered, the text indicated will be immediately removed. Thank you for your cooperation.


  • Jean De La Fontaine   ( 2 Articles )

    jeandelafontaine

    Biography

    Jean de La Fontaine (July 8, 1621, Château-Thierry – April 13, 1695, Paris) was the most famous French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century.

    He is known above all for his Fables, which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Europe and numerous alternative versions in France, and in French regional languages.According to Flaubert, he was the only French poet to understand and master the texture of the French language before Hugo.

    A set of postage stamps celebrating La Fontaine and the Fables was issued by France in 1995.

    Quote ...

    The Grasshopper, singing
    All summer long,
    Now found winter stinging,
    And ceased in his song.
    Not a morsel or crumb in his cupboard - 
    So he shivered, and ceased in his song.

    Miss Ant was his neighbor;
    To her he went:
    "O, you're rich from labor,
    And I've not a cent.
    Lend me food, and I vow I'll return it,
    Though at present I have not a cent."

    (Wikipedia)

    Text sources:
    Public domain literature 
    Project Gutenberg

    Note: texts are taken from various translations on the web, with an explicit indication of free sharing license and no copyright. If you want to report some violation, please send an email to   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with your request and, if reasons are encountered, the text indicated will be immediately removed. Thank you for your cooperation.


  • Joseph Jacobs   ( 7 Articles )

    joseph-jacobsJoseph Jacobs (29 August 1854 – 30 January 1916) was a folklorist, literary critic and historian. His works included contributions to the Jewish Encyclopedia, translations of European works, and critical editions of early English literature. Jacobs wrote for journals and books on the subject of folklore and produced a popular series of fairy tales.

    From 1899-1900 he edited the journal Folklore, and from 1890 to 1916 he edited multiple collections of fairy tales - English Fairy Tales (1890), Celtic Fairy Tales (1892 anthology), More Celtic Fairy Tales (1894), More English Fairy Tales (1894), Indian Fairy Tales (1912), European Folk and Fairy Tales (also known as Europa's Fairy Book) (1916) - which were published with distinguished illustrations by John Dickson Batten. He was inspired in this by the Brothers Grimm and the romantic nationalism common in folklorists of his age; he wished English children to have access to English fairy tales, whereas they were chiefly reading French and German tales; in his own words, "What Perrault began, the Grimms completed."

    Although he collected many tales under the name of fairy tales, many of them are unusual sorts of tales. Binnorie (in English Fairy Tales) and Tamlane (in More English Fairy Tales) are prose versions of ballads, The Old Woman and Her Pig (in English Fairy Tales) is a nursery rhyme, Henny-Penny (in English Fairy Tales)is a fable, and The Buried Moon (in More English Fairy Tales) has mythic overtones to an extent unusual in fairy tales. According to his own analysis of English Fairy Tales, "Of the eighty-seven tales contained in my two volumes, thirty-eight are Märchen proper, ten sagas or legends, nineteen drolls, four cumulative stories, six beast tales, and ten nonsense stories."

    (Wikipedia)
  • Lewis Carroll   ( 12 Articles )

    Lewis-Carroll

    Biography

    Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (27 January 1832 – 14 January 1898), better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer.

    His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems "The Hunting of the Snark" and "Jabberwocky", all examples of the genre of literary nonsense.

    He is noted for his facility at word play, logic, and fantasy, and there are societies dedicated to the enjoyment and promotion of his works and the investigation of his life in many parts of the world, including the United Kingdom, Japan, the United States, and New Zealand.

    Curiosity
    To promote letter writing, Dodgson invented The Wonderland Postage-Stamp Case in 1889. This was a cloth-backed folder with twelve slots, two marked for inserting the then most commonly used penny stamp, and one each for the other current denominations to one shilling. The folder was then put into a slip case decorated with a picture of Alice on the front and the Cheshire Cat on the back. All could be conveniently carried in a pocket or purse. When issued it also included a copy of Carroll's pamphletted lecture, Eight or Nine Wise Words About Letter-Writing.

    (Wikipedia)

    Text sources:
    Indiana.edu
    Project Gutenberg

    Note: texts are taken from various translations on the web, with an explicit indication of free sharing license and no copyright. If you want to report some violation, please send an email to   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with your request and, if reasons are encountered, the text indicated will be immediately removed. Thank you for your cooperation.


  • Oscar Wilde   ( 6 Articles )

    oscar-wilde Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer and poet. After writing in different forms throughout the 1880s, he became one of London's most popular playwrights in the early 1890s.

    Today he is remembered for his epigrams and plays, and the circumstances of his imprisonment which was followed by his early death.

    The happy prince and other tales

    The Happy Prince and Other Tales (sometimes called The Happy Prince and Other Stories) is a collection of stories for children first published in May 1888.

    It contains five stories, "The Happy Prince", "The Nightingale and the Rose", "The Selfish Giant", "The Devoted Friend", and "The Remarkable Rocket".

    (Wikipedia)

  • Various   ( 28 Articles )

    ancient-booksThe classic fairy tales and fables to help us understand the past and better understand our time.

    Discover old stories and suggest yours at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , we'll be glad to publish your childhood memories!