Julie L. J. Koehler, Shandi Lynne Wagner, Anne E. Duggan, and Adrion Dula’s Women Writing Wonder: An Anthology of Subversive Nineteenth-Century British, French, and German Fairy Tales


  • Jessica Campbell


Popular understanding of the history of the European fairy tale begins with canonical authors like Charles Perrault (late seventeenth to early eighteenth century) and the Brothers Grimm (early nineteenth century), then proceeds to the twentieth-century Walt Disney films, and ends with feminist revisionist fairy tales written by women authors in the past fifty years. Even in fairy-tale scholarship, it has been hard to shake the narrative that male authors established the conservative fairy-tale canon and then female authors beginning in the late twentieth century subverted that canon with revisions that sought to expose and remedy the sexism of classic fairy tales. This narrative has been complicated by robust scholarship on the role of the conteuses—French women writers who were Perrault’s contemporaries and just as important as he in establishing the literary fairy tale. As a result, discussions of the role of women in the production of fairy tales have ended up jumping from the seventeenth/eighteenth-century conteuses to late-twentieth-century writers like Angela Carter, without much in between. Were women writing fairy tales during the intervening years? Women Writing Wonder answers this question with a resounding “yes.”