Reworking Myth and Fairytale in YA Literature–Again!

If you visit this site often, you’ll know that many of the Gothic and fantastic narratives that OGOM research involve reworkings and rewritings of fairy tales or myths. The transformations and interminglings of genre involved fascinate me on a formal level but also allow some impressive writing on contemporary issues using the old narrative structures. Many of these fictions are for a young adult audience but are by no means puerile or simplistically didactic and some are very sophisticated.

Dahlia Adler, on the Barnes and Noble blog (itself very often interesting and useful), reviews here ‘6 New Retellings for Fairy-Tale Fans‘. These all look very intriguing; there are adaptations of ‘Snow White’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Cinderella’, ‘Rumpelstiltskin’, and ‘The Little Mermaid’. What adds to the appeal is that some of them also draw on Chinese or Russian folklore, or Norse myth, adding an extra dimension of intertextuality.  Some also explore gay or bisexual romance, challenging the orthodox reception of the traditional tales.

Here, in ‘Young Adult Fiction Uses Myths To Keep Traditional Storytelling Alive‘, NPR’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro interviews Books Editor Barrie Hardimon about the use of material from Greek, Roman, and Norse myth in YA fiction, from the Olympian gods of the Percy Jackson series through novels featuring Medusa, Daedalus, Persephone, and Loki’s daughter Hel. Again, some of these sound very appealing.

 And finally, Mari Ness reviews a fascinating experiment in children’s fiction, Marilyn Singer’s Mirror, Mirror, where a newly-invented poetic form, reverso, where versified adaptations of classic fairy tales can be read in either direction, yielding different stories. You need to see this from the examples here; it looks fascinating.


About William the Bloody

Cat lover. 18C scholar on the dialogue and novel. Co-convenor OGOM Project
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