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"Beyond the Looking Glass:
Extraordinary Works of Fairy Tale & Fantasy,"
edited by Jonathan Cott, with introductions
by Cott and Leslie Fiedler

Review by John Gabree

Jonathan Cott has assembled a fat (519-page), illustrated anthology of Victoriana: 10 fantasy novels and stories of the supernatural with 200 sometimes extraordinary black-and-white drawings. Highlights include George MacDonald's "The Golden Key" and Christina Rossetti's "Goblin Market," the latter with Laurence Housman's remarkable illustrations. Among the other writers are John Ruskin and Mary de Morgan; the artists include Eleanor Boyle, Walter Crane and Richard Doyle.

Cott rightly contends that these works, despite being labeled children's stories, are best enjoyed and understood by adults, because the recovery of childhood - as seen in these writings - retrieves for English literature the animistic wisdom which mainstream Victorian culture attempted to demean. Although the fairy tales are thoroughly enjoyable, most readers will be taken with Tom Hood's clever political satire, "Petsetilla's Psy," and by Mrs. Clifford's "Wooden Tony," a brief, chilling description of autism.

Buy Beyond the Looking Glass



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