Originally meant for an adult audience, fairy tales in their earliest forms were often sensual and violent. “Jack and the Beanstalk,” from Scottish folklore, was the basis for Jack the Giant-Killer.
During the nineteenth century, the Victorians altered many fairy tales to make them suitable for children. These gentler versions often were written by the best-known authors of the time. Many of the resulting collections of childrens stories were beautifully illustrated, so the books were also collected by adults. As a result of the success of these childrens books, more fantasy stories were written over the years. Some are based on ancient legends, such as T. H. Whites The Once and Future King (1958); countless others were original. Furthermore, these stories were not meant for children alone; they were grouped in the category of adult fantasy. Some works entered the mainstream because many authors not known for fantasy work enjoy turning to this genre occasionally. It allows authors to escape the harsh realities depicted in real-world novels and enter a world in which basic principles such as good and evil can be examined in different idioms. Some authors prefer using language and symbolism found in old stories to build new ones. Others, such as de Lint, base their novels directly on old stories, as in the Fairy Tale Series.
De Lint is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America and has been a juror for the William...
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