The Violet Fairy Book

Andrew Lang

Introduced by Alison Lurie
Illustrated by Bob Venables

A queen disguises herself as a boy and travels to a far-off land to rescue her beloved husband; a boy tells a lie so extravagant that it beats the tall tales of a dishonest miller; a childless couple begs to be blessed with offspring, only to discover that one can have too much of a good thing…

Published price: US$ 94.95

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The Violet Fairy Book

The acclaimed writer Alison Lurie, describes in her introduction the dual nature of Andrew Lang's fairy tale collections that makes them so valuable: they are at once a serious collection of authentic folk stories from around the world; and a delightful collection of stories that have been carefully translated and edited with children in mind. Other collections of folk tales were either so exactly recorded that they seemed dull and repetitious, or they were so literary that they lost the earthy flavours of their origin. Lang's collections, by contrast are the perfect balance of authenticity and readability. They are, as Lang wrote in his preface, 'as old as anything that men have invented,' and as he points out, children's tastes today do not differ much from those of their distant ancestors - they still prefer reading fairy tales to 'history, poetry, geography, or arithmetic'.

A queen disguises herself as a boy and travels to a far-off land to rescue her beloved husband; a boy tells a lie so extravagant that it beats the tall tales of a dishonest miller; a childless couple begs to be blessed with offspring, only to discover that one can have too much of a good thing … Magical creatures abound – from a cowardly dragon to a frog that excels in sewing and spinning – as do magical objects – a knife that enchants horses, a whistle that calls hares and a sack that contains two servants. But despite magic and spells, the message of most of these stories is that help comes only to those who show themselves to be resourceful, kind and brave.

Explore the Andrew Lang Fairy Book series

Production Details

The Violet Fairy Book book

Introduced by Alison Lurie

Bound in cloth

Illustrated by Bob Venables

13 full-page colour illustrations and additional black & white embellishments

336 pages

Book size: 10" x 7½"

About Andrew Lang

Andrew Gabriel Lang grew up in Selkirk in the Scottish Borders, the son of the town clerk and the eldest of eight children. The wild and beautiful landscape of his childhood had a great effect on the young Lang and inspired in him not only a life-long love of the outdoors but a fascination with local folklore and history. The Borders is an area rich in history and he grew up surrounded by tales of Bonnie Prince Charlie and Robert the Bruce. Amongst his many later literary achievements was his Short History of Scotland.

A gifted student and avid reader, Lang went to the prestigious St Andrews University (now holding a lecture series in his honour every few years) and then to Balliol College, Oxford. He would later write about the city in Oxford: Brief Historical and Descriptive Notes, published in 1880.

Moving to London at the age of 31, already a published poet, he started working as a journalist. His dry sense of humour, writing style and huge array of interests made him a popular editor and columnist and he was soon writing for The Daily Post, Time magazine and Fortnightly Review. It was whilst working in London that he met and married his wife Leonore Blanche Alleyne.

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