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On Wednesday 3rd March the Queen’s College Translation Exchange launched A String of Pearls. The launch featured a reading from me, my reflections on the translation process (which I also discussed here with the Oxford White Rose Project) and what I've learned from the stories, alongside contributions from Dr Joanna Neilly, who wrote the volume’s foreword, Dr Nicola Thomas, who typeset the edition, and illustrator Susan Sansome.
During the evening, Joanna thanked my project ‘for refocusing our attention on these often unjustly neglected voices. Her project is timely, coming when we are all considering how to make a more inclusive curriculum, but this is not just inclusivity for its own sake. Eve’s translations reveal the creativity, the wit, and the often subversive voices of a range of nineteenth-century fairy tales. This reminds us, of course, that folk and fairy tales are inherently subversive genres, often containing low humour or amplifying marginalised figures – the lower classes, children, outsider figures who become folk heroes. Eve’s project reclaims this subversive potential by bringing to the fore some forgotten women’s voices, who often provide a critical and ironic take on literary tradition. I am sure her book will become an important resource for students who want to know about the rich diversity of nineteenth-century cultural production.’
You can find a recording of the launch event here.
I have self-published my five fairy tales in A String of Pearls, which was published in autumn 2020. This has involved a huge amount of work over the past year, with a lot of help from friends and colleagues around me, and I'm so excited to share the results with you all.
The stories - translated into English for the first time - are of interest both to fairy tale enthusiasts and to those taking a more academic approach, particularly to students and tutors wishing to expand their literature curriculum to include more women's voices. My project aims to recover and revitalise some of the lost voices of the hundreds of German women who wrote and published fairy tales in the nineteenth century but have since been forgotten, women who used the genre as a subversive vehicle for critique of patriarchal values and conventions, such as the importance of marriage and the denial of education to women.
We meet the conventional adventurous children, wicked queens, handsome princes and talking animals, but also some figures that don’t seem quite so familiar: a wise, educated ruling queen; a powerful, vengeful nymph who we see in the illustration below; and not a knight in shining armour, but a brave young woman ready to save a sleeping prince.
If you would like to reserve a copy from the reprint this summer, do go ahead and get in touch by emailing: email@example.com. Please include your address along with how many copies you'd like, plus any special requests (e.g. a note addressed to a particular person inside the front cover).
Each copy will be £4.99 + £2.50 P&P for a beautifully illustrated paperback edition. I won't be asking for payment until closer to the time, but at that point I will get in touch with everyone who's contacted me to reserve their copies to arrange payment.
Thank you all for your support, I hope you're as excited about this as I am!
The stories have no explicit content, but some of the tales have some slightly darker themes. Given they were written in the nineteenth century, the language can be quite dense (think Dickens!) so it's not a fairy tale collection aimed at children. Depending on maturity and reading ability, I would suggest 10+ (and a ten year old would probably learn lots of new words in the process!)