Saturday, November 5, 2011

What is a "fairy tale"?

“One can think of it as a short tale without context, though with association, like a dream; a poem which is bare of euphonious and beautiful words, but also lacking all sense and context, at most some intelligible stanzas, like fragments from the most varied things. These true poems can have, at most, an allegorical sense in the whole, and an indirect effect, like music. That is why nature is so purely poetic, like the parlor of a magician, of a physicist, ....

“A maerchen is like a dream’s picture without context. An ensemble of wonderful objects and happenings, for example a musical fantasy, the harmonic result of an aeolic mode, nature itself. ...

“In a genuine maerchen all must be wonderful, mysterious and coherent; everything crowded, each from a different path. All of nature must be wonderfully mixed with all of the spirit world; here enters the time of anarchy, of lawlessness, freedom, the natural state of nature, the time before the world ... The world of the maerchen is that which is set up opposite the world of truth, and thus is like it as chaos is like completed creation.”

 - Novalis, quoted (in German) by George MacDonald at the beginning of his “faerie romance,” Phantastes. I can think of no better place to begin.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...