Fairy Tales as Avant-Garde

Through our class discussion today on The Yellow Book volume 12 I was mesmerized by the inclusion of a fairy tale within a magazine that wasn’t geared towards children. Fairy tales in 1897 were already established as being more appropriate for children than any other demographic. This could be due to their ability to include morals, or blatant themes in the narrative rather than be left for the reader to discover subliminally. However the inclusion of Eveyln Sharp’s “The Restless River” goes against these assumptions. Due to its inclusion the volume gives the ability for a reader to pass on the story to a child, creating an intergenerational audience for the magazine that hadn’t been conceptualized before. The fairy tale as a genre lends itself well to demonstrating archetypes, which are clearly utilized in Sharp’s story through changing the typical princess with a fairy godmother to a prince. I was pleasantly surprised to see that in 1897 creators were engaging with refurbishing the fairy tale for a different audience.

I believe that this works to somewhat enhance the goal that The Yellow Book was struggling with by it’s 12th volume: to remain in the realm of avant-garde. By including by what was at the time typical children’s story structure into a magazine primarily for adults, the magazine is trying to remain experimental and unlike any other.

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