Kennedy and Boyd

Golden Heart, And Other Fairy Stories, The
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By Jacob, Violet. Illustrated by May Sandheim. Introduction by Sarah Dunnigan
ISBN 1849210985
SERIES Twentieth Century Scottish Women's Fiction
Paperback  168 pages
Published 23 September 2011
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Violet Jacob (1863-1946) is most well known as a North East writer of historical fiction and of lyric poetry in Scots and English but she also wrote for children. This collection of short fairy tale fictions, The Golden Heart and Other Fairy Stories, is reprinted for the first time since its original publication in 1904, and makes visible an important part of Jacob's writing life. These eight tales, populated by witches, fairies, and princesses as well as talking animals and magical objects, echo aspects of both folk tradition and the classical European fairy tale canon. Jacob's protagonists seek love and happiness, enduring trials and misfortunes in order to reach a fairy tale ending; their narratives are often imbued with irony and humour, or laced with tender melancholy in the way of a Hans Christian Andersen tale. In its fantastical portraits of desire and longing, Jacob's collection is not altogether 'child-like'. Its charm and power is enriched by the original drawings by the artist May Sandheim; in their interlinking of an Art Nouveau aesthetic and fairy tale subject matter, they evokes the contemporary context of the 'Scotto-Continental Art Nouveau' movement and its female artists - such as Margaret MacDonald and Jessie M. King - who drew inspiration from fairy tales in their symbolist artworks. Published in the same year of the first performance of J.M. Barrie's famous 'fairy play', Peter Pan, The Golden Heart deserves to be restored to the tradition of Scottish fantasy and fairy tale writing.

Sarah Dunnigan is a Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Edinburgh University. She has written about medieval and Renaissance Scottish literature, ballads, Burns, contemporary women writers, and fairy tales. She edited Nancy Brysson Morrison's Mary Queen of Scots for Kennedy & Boyd.

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