Illustrated Edition of Fouque's "The Magic Ring"
Thanks all for pulling me up on my over-hasty reaction. How unclear one can be! No, I'm not in favour of Bowdlerising but John Rateliff has expressed what I really meant by his phrase about certain texts having a restricted audience. I can choose to regret the connotations within this work yet go on to read it for its other interesting aspects, whereas a very young reader may still be at the stage of taking everything literally. It's not an easy issue at all, I have 35 years of Librarianship behind me, much of it in work with children, and I can't say that I want to stop children reading, say, Narnia because of all the various objections many have raised to its assumptions, or Swallows and Amazons because it's middle class, or - well, enter as appropriate. But - oh, but - there are works within every culture that assume without question the total wrongness and strangeness of other cultures, and they are the tricky ones. No, you should not alter a text and then never allow the original to be read; but think how many 'children's versions' of things you may have read as a child - were they all wrong? A very old kettle of fish, and I have lifted the lid again. Better hide, I suppose.
- And of course George MacDonald's brief answer to the question "What is a fairy-tale?" was "Read 'Undine'" (in "The Fantastic Imagination," I believe).