The Handmaid's Tale (TV series)
American television series
The Handmaid's Tale is an American dystopiantelevision series created by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. The series was ordered by the streaming service Hulu as a straight-to-series order of 10 episodes, for which production began in late 2016. The plot features a dystopia following a Second American Civil War wherein a totalitarian society subjects fertile women, called "Handmaids", to child-bearing slavery.
The first three episodes of the series premiered on April 26, 2017; the subsequent seven episodes were released every Wednesday. In July 2019, the series was renewed for a fourth season, which premiered on April 27, 2021. In September 2019, it was announced that Hulu and MGM were developing a sequel series, to be based on Atwood's 2019 novel The Testaments. In December 2020, ahead of the fourth season premiere, the series was renewed for a fifth season.
The Handmaid's Tale's first season won eight Primetime Emmy Awards from 13 nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series. It is the first show produced by Hulu to win a major award as well as the first series on a streaming service to win an Emmy for Outstanding Series. It also won the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series – Drama. Elisabeth Moss was also awarded the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and the Golden Globe for Best Actress.
In a world where fertility rates have collapsed as a result of sexually transmitted diseases and environmental pollution, the totalitarian, theonomic government of Gilead establishes rule in the former United States in the aftermath of a civil war. Society is organized by power-hungry leaders along with a new, militarized, hierarchical regime of religious fanaticism and newly created social classes, in which women are brutally subjugated. By law, women in Gilead are forced to work in very limited roles, including some as natal slaves, and they are not allowed to own property, have careers, handle money, or read.
World infertility has led to the enslavement of fertile women in Gilead determined by the new regime to be "fallen women", citing an extremist interpretation of the Biblical account of Bilhah; these women often include those who have entered multiple marriages (termed "adulteresses", as divorce is not recognised under Gileadian law), single or unmarried mothers, lesbians (homosexuals being termed "gender traitors"), non-Christians, adherents of Christian denominations other than the "Sons of Jacob", political dissidents, and academics. These women, called Handmaids, are assigned to the homes of the ruling elite, where they must submit to ritualized rape (referred to as "the ceremony") by their male masters ("Commanders") in the presence of their wives, to be impregnated and bear children for them. Handmaids are given names created by the addition of the prefix Of- to the first name of the man who has them. When they are transferred, their names are changed.
Along with the Handmaids, much of society is now grouped into classes that dictate their freedoms and duties. Women are divided into a small range of social categories, each one signified by a plain dress in a specific color. Handmaids wear long red dresses, heavy brown boots and white coifs, with a larger white coif (known as "wings") to be worn outside, concealing them from public view and restricting their vision.
June Osborne, renamed Offred, is the Handmaid assigned to the home of the Gileadan Commander Fred Waterford and his wife Serena Joy. The Waterfords, key players in the formation and rise of Gilead, struggle with the realities of the society they helped create. During "the time before", June was married to Luke and had a daughter, Hannah. At the beginning of the story, while attempting to flee Gilead with her husband and daughter, June was captured and forced to become a Handmaid because of the adultery she and her husband committed. June's daughter was taken and given to an upper-class family to raise, and her husband escaped into Canada. Much of the plot revolves around June's desire to be reunited with her husband and daughter and the internal evolution of her strength to its somewhat darker version.
Cast and characters
Main article: List of The Handmaid's Tale (TV series) characters
- Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne / Offred / Ofjoseph, a woman who was captured while attempting to escape to Canada with her husband, Luke, and daughter, Hannah. Due to her fertility, she is made a Handmaid to Commander Fred Waterford and his wife, Serena Joy as "Offred", and later to Commander Joseph Lawrence as "Ofjoseph".
- Joseph Fiennes as Commander Fredrick “Fred” Waterford, a high-ranking government official, and June's former master. Both he and his wife were instrumental in Gilead's founding.
- Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford, Fred's wife, and a former conservative cultural activist. She appears to have accepted her new role in a society that she helped create. She is poised and deeply religious, but capable of great cruelty and is often callous to June. She is desperate to become a mother.
- Alexis Bledel as Dr. Emily Malek / Ofglen #1 / Ofsteven / Ofroy / Ofjoseph #1, a former university lecturer in cellular biology and initially June's shopping partner. Although June is initially wary of her, it is revealed she is not as pious as she seems, and the two become friends. Emily is one of June's first contacts with Mayday, and she has a wife and son living in Canada.
- Madeline Brewer as Janine Lindo / Ofwarren / Ofdaniel / Ofhoward, a Handmaid who entered the Red Center for training at the same time as June, and considers June a friend due to her kind treatment. Initially non-compliant, Janine has her right eye removed as a punishment. She becomes mentally unstable due to her treatment and often behaves in temperamental or childlike ways. Before Gilead, Janine was a waitress and had a son, Caleb, who unbeknownst to her was killed after the takeover.
- Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia Clements, a woman in charge of overseeing the Handmaids in their sexual re-education and duties. She is brutal and subjects insubordinate Handmaids to harsh physical punishment, but she also cares for her charges and believes deeply in the Gileadean mission and doctrine. She appears to have a soft spot for Janine and even goes so far as to address her by her given name on occasion. Before Gilead, she was a family court judge, and afterwards, an elementary school teacher.
- O. T. Fagbenle as Luke Bankole, June's husband from before Gilead. Because he is divorced (he and June began their relationship before his divorce from his first wife), their union is nullified in this new society. June is considered an adulteress and their daughter, Hannah, is deemed illegitimate. Initially, June believes he was killed, but it is later revealed Luke managed to escape to Canada.
- Max Minghella as Commander Nick Blaine, Commander Waterford's driver and a former drifter from Michigan who has feelings for June. June and Nick develop an intimate relationship and she eventually discovers that he is an Eye, a spy for Gilead and that he played a huge role in the Gileadean takeover. In season 3, he is promoted to Commander.
- Samira Wiley as Moira Strand, June's best friend since college. She is already at the Red Center when June enters Handmaid training but escapes before being assigned to a home. She is recaptured and becomes "Ruby", a Jezebel. She seems to have given up hope of ever being free, but on meeting June again regains the conviction to escape to Canada.
- Amanda Brugel as Rita Blue (main season 2–present, recurring season 1), a Martha at the Waterford house, who becomes one of June's closest allies. She had a son named Matthew, who died fighting in the civil war when he was 19 years old.
- Bradley Whitford as Commander Joseph Lawrence (main season 3–present, guest season 2), the founder of the Colonies and architect behind Gilead's economy. He is on and off with Mayday.
- Sam Jaeger as Mark Tuello (main season 4–present, recurring season 3, guest season 2), an operative of the U.S. Government whom Serena encounters in Canada.
- Stephen Kunken as Commander Warren Putnam (season 1–present), the first known Commander of Janine.
- Ever Carradine as Naomi Putnam (season 1–present), Commander Putnam's wife. She has no sympathy for Handmaids and only sees her baby as a status symbol.
- Jordana Blake as Hannah Bankole (season 1–present), June and Luke's daughter. After being taken, she is given a new family and renamed Agnes MacKenzie.
- Tattiawna Jones as Lillie Fuller / Ofglen #2 (seasons 1–2), who replaces Emily in the position after Emily is captured by the Eyes. She initially follows the rules and does not wish to upset the status quo, but this is because she believes her life as a Handmaid is better than the difficult, impoverished life she led prior to Gilead, rather than out of religious piety.
- Nina Kiri as Alma / Ofrobert (seasons 1–4), another Handmaid who trained at the Red Center with June, Moira, and Janine. She is frank and chatty and often trades gossip and news with June. She is also involved with Mayday and becomes one of June's first contacts with the resistance group.
- Bahia Watson as Brianna / Oferic (seasons 1–4), another local Handmaid who is friends with June.
- Jenessa Grant as Dolores / Ofsamuel (seasons 1–2, guest season 3), a local Handmaid with a friendly and talkative nature.
- Edie Inksetter as Aunt Elizabeth (season 1–present), a fellow Aunt who works closely with Aunt Lydia at the Red Center.
- Robert Curtis Brown as Commander Andrew Pryce (seasons 1–2), a Commander who is one of the leading members of the Sons of Jacob and is in charge of the Eyes.
- Kristen Gutoskie as Beth (seasons 1 and 3, guest season 4), an award winning chef before the rise of Gilead, formerly a Martha at Jezebel's, and later a Martha in the Lawrence household.
- Erin Way as Erin (seasons 1–3), a young, apparently mute woman who was being trained to become a Handmaid but managed to escape to Canada with Luke.
- Krista Morin as Rachel Tapping (seasons 1–2, season 4), an official at the United States Consulate in Canada.
- Clea DuVall as Sylvia (season 2–3), Emily's wife.
- Cherry Jones as Holly Maddox (season 2–3), June's mother, an outspoken feminist.
- Sydney Sweeney as Eden Blaine (née Spencer) (season 2), a pious and obedient young girl who is married off to Nick.
- Greg Bryk as Commander Ray Cushing (season 2), a fellow Commander who later replaces Commander Pryce's position.
- Rohan Mead as Isaac (season 2), a young Guardian assigned to the Waterford home.
- Julie Dretzin as Eleanor Lawrence (seasons 2–3), the mentally unstable wife of Commander Lawrence.
- Ashleigh LaThrop as Natalie / Ofmatthew (season 3), a devoted Handmaid whose loyalty to Gilead causes divisive tensions amongst her peers.
- Sugenja Sri as Sienna (season 3, guest season 4), a new Martha in the Lawrence household.
- Jonathan Watton as Commander Matthew Calhoun (season 3–present), the assigned Commander of Natalie/Ofmatthew.
- Charlie Zeltzer as Oliver (season 3–present), Emily and Sylvia's son.
- Christopher Meloni as High Commander George Winslow (season 3), a High Commander stationed in Washington, D.C.
- Elizabeth Reaser as Olivia Winslow (season 3), the wife of High Commander Winslow.
- Mckenna Grace as Esther Keyes (season 4–present), a farmer and the teenage wife of an older Commander.
- Zawe Ashton as Oona (season 4), an aid worker in Toronto and Moira's new girlfriend.
- Jeananne Goossen as Aunt Ruth (season 4), a high ranking Aunt who is desperate to replace Aunt Lydia as leading Aunt in their district.
- Jim Cummings as Burke (season 1), an Eye who interrogates June.
- Zabryna Guevara as Mrs. Castillo (season 1), an ambassador from Mexico who visits Gilead to see the effectiveness of the regime.
- Christian Barillas as Mr. Flores (season 1), Mrs. Castillo's assistant.
- Rosa Gilmore as Zoe (season 1), the daughter of a US army soldier and the leader of the group of survivors whom Luke encounters after being separated from June and Hannah.
- Tim Ransom as Mr. Whitford (season 1), a friend of June's mother who helps June, Luke, and Hannah attempt to cross the border.
- Marisa Tomei as Mrs. O'Conner (season 2), a Commander's wife who is exiled to the Colonies as punishment for committing a sin of the flesh.
- Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Omar (season 2), a man who helps June attempt to escape Gilead.
- John Carroll Lynch as Dan (season 2), Emily's boss at the university where she worked.
- Kelly Jenrette as Annie (season 2), Luke's ex-wife.
- Rebecca Rittenhouse as Odette (season 2), a doctor, and Moira's deceased fiancée.
- Oprah Winfrey (uncredited) as Newsreader (season 2) on a car radio.
- Amy Landecker as Mrs. MacKenzie (season 3), Hannah's placement mother in Gilead.
- Laila Robins as Pamela Joy (season 3), Serena's mother.
- Sarah McVie as Lena (season 3), a Swiss diplomat negotiating the hostile conflict between Gilead and Canada over Nichole.
- Emily Althaus as Noelle (season 3), a young single mother whose son Aunt Lydia taught before the rise of Gilead.
- Laura Vandervoort as Daisy (season 4), a Jezebels worker who aids June.
- Alex Castillo as Dawn Mathis (season 4), the Waterfords' defense attorney.
- Reed Birney as Lieutenant Stans (season 4) a Gilead officer who interrogates June.
- Omar Maskati as Steven (season 4), the leader of a resistance group in Chicago.
- Carly Street as Iris Baker/Aunt Irene (season 4), a former Aunt who attempts to make amends with Emily.
Main article: List of The Handmaid's Tale episodes
Hulu's straight-to-series order of The Handmaid's Tale was announced in April 2016, with Elisabeth Moss set to star. Based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood, the series was created by Bruce Miller, who is also an executive producer with Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, and Warren Littlefield. Atwood serves as consulting producer, giving feedback on some of the areas where the series expands upon or modernizes the book. She also played a small cameo role in the first episode. Moss is also a producer.
In June 2016, Reed Morano was announced as director of the series.Samira Wiley, Max Minghella, and Ann Dowd joined the cast in July 2016.Joseph Fiennes, Madeline Brewer, and Yvonne Strahovski were cast in August 2016, followed by O. T. Fagbenle and Amanda Brugel in September 2016. In October 2016, Ever Carradine joined the cast, and Alexis Bledel was added in January 2017.
Filming on the series took place in Toronto, Mississauga, Brantford, Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, and Cambridge, Ontario, from September 2016 to February 2017. Hulu released the first full trailer of the TV series on YouTube, on March 23, 2017. The series premiered on April 26, 2017.
On May 3, 2017, The Handmaid's Tale was renewed for a second season which premiere on April 25, 2018. Moss told the news media that the subsequent episodes would cover further developments in the story, filling in some of the unanswered questions and continuing the narrative already "finished" in the book. The second season consists of 13 episodes and began filming in fall 2017. Alexis Bledel returned as a series regular. Showrunner Bruce Miller stated that he envisioned 10 seasons of the show, stating, "Well, you know, honestly, when I started, I tried to game out in my head what would ten seasons be like? If you hit a home run, you want energy to go around the bases, you want enough story to keep going, if you can hook the audience to care about these people enough that they're actually crying at the finale." Season 2 was filmed in Ontario, primarily in Toronto, but some scenes were shot in Hamilton and Cambridge.
On May 2, 2018, Hulu renewed the series for a third season, which premiered on June 5, 2019. Season 3 started production in Toronto in October 2018. Scenes for season 3 were also filmed in Cambridge and Hamilton, Ontario as well as in Washington, D.C. Season 3 saw the show's long-serving Director of Photography, Colin Watkinson, make his directorial debut with the episode "Unknown Caller". Cambridge was nominated by the Location Managers Guild International for "Outstanding Film Office" for their work on this season. This was the first time that a Canadian Film Office was nominated for this honor.
On July 26, 2019, the series was renewed for a fourth season. Season 4, consisting of 10 episodes, began production in March 2020, with Elisabeth Moss filming her directorial debut, but work had to be halted after only a few weeks, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In June 2020, Hulu announced that the fourth season would premiere in 2021. Production on season 4 resumed in September 2020 and wrapped on February 25, 2021, with Moss having directed three episodes.
On December 10, 2020, ahead of the fourth season premiere, Hulu renewed the series for a fifth season.
Broadcast and release
The first three episodes of the series premiered on April 26, 2017; the subsequent seven episodes were released on a weekly basis. In Canada, the series is broadcast weekly by CTV Drama Channel and the streaming service Crave; the first two episodes premiered on April 30, 2017. In Scandinavia, the series is available on HBO Nordic. In the United Kingdom, the series premiered on May 28, 2017, on Channel 4.
In New Zealand, the series was released on the subscription video on demand service Lightbox on June 8, 2017. After satellite service provider Sky acquired Lightbox and merged it into its streaming service Neon on July 7, 2020, Neon acquired the distribution rights to the series in New Zealand.
In Australia, the series premiered on the TV channel SBS's video streaming service SBS on Demand, on July 6, 2017.
In Ireland, the series premiered on February 5, 2018 on RTÉ2, with a showing of the first two episodes. RTÉ also became the first broadcaster in Europe to debut Season 2, Season 3 and Season 4 following its broadcast in the US and Canada. In Brazil and Latin America, the series premiered on March 7, 2018, on Paramount Channel.
In India, the series premiered on February 5, 2018 on AXN and ran for the first two seasons before moving to Amazon Prime Video for Season 3, which made all three seasons available for viewing on January 31, 2020.
The first season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on March 13, 2018. The second season was released on Blu-ray and DVD on December 4, 2018. The third season was released on Blu-ray on November 19, 2019.
In 2019, The Handmaid's Tale was ranked 25th on The Guardian's list of the 100 best TV shows of the 21st century. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the series has an average "Tomatometer" rating of 82%. On Metacritic, another aggregator, it has an average score of 83.
On Rotten Tomatoes, 94% of 125 reviews are positive for the first season, with an average rating of 8.67/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Haunting and vivid, The Handmaid's Tale is an endlessly engrossing adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel that's anchored by a terrific central performance from Elisabeth Moss." On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 92 out of 100 based on 41 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter called it "probably the spring's best new show". Jen Chaney of Vulture gave it a highly positive review, and wrote that it is "A faithful adaptation of the book that also brings new layers to Atwood's totalitarian, sexist world of forced surrogate motherhood" and that "this series is meticulously paced, brutal, visually stunning, and so suspenseful from moment to moment that only at the end of each hour will you feel fully at liberty to exhale".
There was much debate on whether parallels could be drawn between the series (and by extension, the book it is based on) and American society during the Presidency of Donald Trump. Comparisons have also been made to the Salafi/Wahabbi extremism of ISIS, under which enslaved women of religious minorities are passed around and utilized as sex objects and vessels to bear new jihadis.
On Rotten Tomatoes, 89% of 101 critics have given the season a positive review, and an average rating of 8.36/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Beautifully shot but dishearteningly relevant, The Handmaid's Tale centers its sophomore season tightly around its compelling cast of characters, making room for broader social commentary through more intimate lenses." Metacritic assigned the season a weighted average score of 86 out of 100 based on 28 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
Some critics perceived the second season's depictions of violence as excessive. The Atlantic's Sophie Gilbert wrote: "There came a point during the first episode where, for me, it became too much." Lisa Miller of The Cut wrote: "I have pressed mute and fast forward so often this season, I am forced to wonder: 'Why am I watching this'? It all feels so gratuitous, like a beating that never ends."The Daily Telegraph's Rebecca Reid admitted she had an anxiety attack watching an episode of the show.
For the third season, Rotten Tomatoes reports that 81% of 57 reviews are positive, and the average rating is 6.92/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "The Handmaid's Tale's third season reins in its horrors and inspires hope that revolution really is possible – if only the story would stop spinning its wheels and get to it already." Metacritic compiled 14 critic reviews and an average score of 68 out of 100, signifying "generally favorable reviews".
Kelly Lawler of USA Today gave it a positive review, scoring it three out of four stars. She claimed it is an improvement over the second season, "that rights many – though definitely not all – of Season 2's wrongs." Overall, she wrote, "The new season is more propulsive and watchable, although it doesn't quite reach the heights of that first moving season. But Handmaid's regains its footing by setting off on a new path".
Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter wrote a generally positive review, praising Elisabeth Moss's performance and the cinematography, but criticized the plot "that has become frustratingly repetitive". Overall, he wrote, "Still occasionally powerful, but rarely as provocative".
On Rotten Tomatoes, the fourth season earned positive reviews from 70% of 43 critics, with an average rating of 7.18/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Elizabeth Moss is better than ever, but scattershot plotting and an overbearing sense of doom may prove too grim for some viewers to really enjoy The Handmaid's Tale's fourth season." According to Metacritic, which collected 15 reviews and calculated an average score of 61, the season received "generally positive reviews".
Kristen Baldwin of Entertainment Weekly gave it a "C+" grade and wrote that the series "delivers on some long-delayed promises, but ultimately it's too little, too late." Matthew Gilbert of The Boston Globe wrote, "the dystopian drama has exceeded the natural lifespan of its story, as it plows forward with nothing new to say, tinkling cymbals and sounding brass." In a more positive review from Jen Chaney of Vulture, she wrote, "Thankfully, season four finally regains some momentum and forward motion. Based on the eight out of ten total episodes made available to critics, this is the best The Handmaid's Tale has been since its first season."
|2017||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Drama Series||Bruce Miller, Warren Littlefield, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, Ilene Chaiken, Sheila Hockin, Eric Tuchman, Frank Siracusa, John Weber, Kira Snyder, Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Boccia and Leila Gerstein||Won|||
|Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series||Elisabeth Moss (for "Night")||Won|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Ann Dowd(for "Offred")||Won|
|Samira Wiley(for "Night")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series||Reed Morano(for "Offred")||Won|
|Kate Dennis (for "The Bridge")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series||Bruce Miller (for "Offred")||Won|
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series||Alexis Bledel(for "Late")||Won|
|Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series||Russell Scott, Sharon Bialy, Sherry Thomas, and Robin D. Cook||Nominated|
|Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour)||Colin Watkinson (for "Offred")||Won|
|Outstanding Period/Fantasy Costumes for a Series, Limited Series, or Movie||Ane Crabtree and Sheena Wichary (for "Offred")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More)||Julie Berghoff, Evan Webber and Sophie Neudorfer (for "Offred")||Won|
|Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role||Brendan Taylor, Stephen Lebed, Leo Bovell, Martin O'Brien, Winston Lee, Kelly Knauff, Zach Dembinski, Mike Suta and Cameron Kerr (for "Birth Day")||Nominated|
|Gold Derby TV Awards||Drama Series||The Handmaid's Tale||Nominated|||
|Drama Actress||Elisabeth Moss||Won|
|Drama Guest Actress||Alexis Bledel||Won|
|Television Critics Association Awards||Program of the Year||The Handmaid's Tale||Won|||
|Outstanding Achievement in Drama||Won|
|Outstanding New Program||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement in Drama||Elisabeth Moss||Nominated|
|American Film Institute Awards||Top 10 TV Programs of the Year||The Handmaid's Tale||Won|||
|2018||American Cinema Editors Awards||Best Edited Drama Series for Non-Commercial Television||Julian Clarke and Wendy Hallam Martin (for "Offred")||Won|||
|Art Directors Guild Awards||One-Hour Contemporary Single-Camera Series||Julie Berghoff (for "Offred", "Birth Day", "Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum")||Won|||
|Andrew Stearn (for "The Bridge")||Nominated|
|Casting Society of America||Television Pilot and First Season – Drama||Sharon Bialy, Sherry Thomas, Russell Scott, Robin D. Cook and Jonathan Oliveira||Won|||
|Cinema Audio Society Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series – One Hour||John J. Thomson, Lou Solakofski, Joe Morrow and Don White (for "Offred")||Nominated|||
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||Excellence in Contemporary Television Series||Ane Crabtree||Won|||
|Critics' Choice Television Awards||Best Drama Series||The Handmaid's Tale||Won|||
|Best Actress in a Drama Series||Elisabeth Moss||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Ann Dowd||Won|
|Directors Guild of America Awards||Outstanding Directorial Achievement for a Drama Series||Reed Morano (for "Offred")||Won|||
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Television Series – Drama||The Handmaid's Tale||Won|||
|Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Elisabeth Moss||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Ann Dowd||Nominated|
|Location Managers Guild Awards||Outstanding Locations in Contemporary Television||John Musikka and Geoffrey Smither||Nominated|||
|Peabody Award||Entertainment, children's and youth honoree||The Handmaid's Tale||Won|||
|Producers Guild of America Awards||Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama||The Handmaid's Tale||Won|||
|Satellite Awards||Best Drama Series||The Handmaid's Tale||Nominated|||
|Best Actress in a Drama / Genre Series||Elisabeth Moss||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries or TV Film||Ann Dowd||Won|
|Saturn Awards||Best New Media Television Series||The Handmaid's Tale||Nominated|||
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series||Madeline Brewer, Amanda Brugel, Ann Dowd, O. T. Fagbenle, Joseph Fiennes, Tattiawna Jones, Max Minghella, Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski and Samira Wiley||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series||Elisabeth Moss||Nominated|
|USC Scripter Awards||Best Adapted TV Screenplay||Bruce Miller and Margaret Atwood(for "Offred")||Won|||
|Writers Guild of America Awards||Dramatic Series||Ilene Chaiken, Nina Fiore, Dorothy Fortenberry, Leila Gerstein, John Herrera, Lynn Maxcy, Bruce Miller, Kira Snyder, Wendy Straker Hauser and Eric Tuchman||Won|||
|BAFTA Television Awards||Best International Programme||The Handmaid's Tale||Won|
|2018||Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Drama Series||Bruce Miller, Warren Littlefield, Elisabeth Moss, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, Mike Barker, Sheila Hockin, Eric Tuchman, Kira Snyder, Yahlin Chang, Frank Siracusa, John Weber, Dorothy Fortenberry and Joseph Boccia||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series||Elisabeth Moss (for "The Last Ceremony")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Joseph Fiennes (for "First Blood")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Alexis Bledel (for "Unwomen")||Nominated|
|Ann Dowd (for "June")||Nominated|
|Yvonne Strahovski (for "Women's Work")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series||Kari Skogland(for "After")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series||Bruce Miller (for "June")||Nominated|
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series||Kelly Jenrette(for "Other Women")||Nominated|
|Cherry Jones(for "Baggage")||Nominated|
|Samira Wiley (for "After")||Won|
|Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series||Sharon Bialy, Sherry Thomas, Russell Scott, and Robin D. Cook||Nominated|
|Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour)||Colin Watkinson (for "June")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes||Ane Crabtree and Natalie Bronfman (for "Seeds")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic)||Burton LeBlanc, Talia Reingold and Erika Caceres (for "Unwomen")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program (One Hour or More)||Mark White, Elisabeth Williams, Martha Sparrow and Caroline Gee (for "June")||Won|
|Elisabeth Williams, Martha Sparrow and Rob Hepburn (for "Seeds", "First Blood", "After")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series||Wendy Hallam Martin (for "June")||Won|
|Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One-Hour)||Joe Morrow, Lou Solakofski and Sylvain Arseneault (for "June")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role||Stephen Lebed, Brendan Taylor, Kelly Knauff, Kelly Weisz, Kevin McGeagh, Anderson Leo Bovell, Winston Lee, Xi Luo and Cameron Kerr (for "June")||Nominated|
|2019||Cinema Audio Society Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series – One Hour||Sylvain Arseneault, Lou Solakofski, Joe Morrow, Scott Michael Smith, Adam Taylor, Mark DeSimone and Jack Heeren (for "Holly")||Nominated|||
|Satellite Awards||Best Drama Series||The Handmaid's Tale||Nominated|||
|Best Actress in a Drama / Genre Series||Elisabeth Moss||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series||Alexis Bledel, Madeline Brewer, Amanda Brugel, Ann Dowd, O. T. Fagbenle, Joseph Fiennes, Nina Kiri, Max Minghella, Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Sydney Sweeney and Bahia Watson||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series||Joseph Fiennes||Nominated|
|Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series||Elisabeth Moss||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress – Television Series Drama||Elisabeth Moss||Nominated|||
|Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film||Yvonne Strahovski||Nominated|
|Visual Effects Society Awards||Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode||Brendan Taylor, Stephen Lebed, Winston Lee and Leo Bovell (for "June")||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project||Patrick Zentis, Kevin McGeagh, Leo Bovell and Zachary Dembinski (for "June") – Fenway Park||Nominated|
|Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Episode||Winston Lee, Gwen Zhang, Xi Luo and Kevin Quatman (for "June")||Nominated|
|Writers Guild of America Awards||Dramatic Series||Yahlin Chang, Nina Fiore, Dorothy Fortenberry, John Herrera, Lynn Renee Maxcy, Bruce Miller, Kira Snyder and Eric Tuchman||Nominated|||
|Episodic Drama||Eric Tuchman (for "First Blood")||Nominated|
|GLAAD Media Awards||Outstanding Drama Series||The Handmaid's Tale||Nominated|||
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series||Daina Reid(for "Holly")||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series||Bruce Miller & Kira Snyder (for "Holly")||Nominated|
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series||Bradley Whitford||Won|||
|Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series||Cherry Jones||Won|
|Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour)||Colin Watkinson for ("The Word")||Nominated|
|Zoë White (for "Holly")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes||Ane Crabtree and Natalie Bronfman (for "The Word")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)||Adam Taylor(for "The Word")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series||Wendy Hallam Martin (for "The Word")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program (One Hour or More)||Elisabeth Williams, Martha Sparrow and Robert Hepburn (for "Holly")||Won|
|Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour)||Joe Morrow, Lou Solakofski and Sylvain Arseneault (for "Holly")||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||Best Streaming Horror & Thriller Series||The Handmaid's Tale||Nominated|||
|2020||Society of Composers & Lyricists Awards||Outstanding Original Score for a Television or Streaming Production||Adam Taylor||Nominated|||
|Cinema Audio Society Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Television Series – One Hour||Sylvain Arseneault, Lou Solakofski, Joe Morrow, Scott Michael Smith, Adam Taylor, Andrea Rusch and Kevin Schultz (for "Heroic")||Nominated|||
|Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guilds||Best Television Series, Mini-Series or New Media Series – Best Contemporary Make-Up||Burton LeBlanc, Alastair Muir and Faye Crasto||Nominated|||
|Best Television Series, Mini-Series or New Media Series – Contemporary Hair Styling||Paul Elliot and Ewa Latak-Cynk||Nominated|
|Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series||Alexis Bledel, Madeline Brewer, Amanda Brugel, Ann Dowd, O. T. Fagbenle, Joseph Fiennes, Kristen Gutoskie, Nina Kiri, Ashleigh LaThrop, Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Bahia Watson, Bradley Whitford and Samira Wiley||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series||Elisabeth Moss||Nominated|
|American Society of Cinematographers Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Regular Series for Non-Commercial Television||Colin Watkinson (for "Night")||Won|||
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||Excellence in Sci-Fi/Fantasy Television||Natalie Bronfman (for "Household")||Nominated|||
|Casting Society of America||Television Series – Drama||Sharon Bialy, Sherry Thomas, Russell Scott, Robin D. Cook, Stacia Kimler and Jonathan Oliveira||Nominated|||
|Art Directors Guild Awards||One-Hour Contemporary Single-Camera Series||Elizabeth Williams (for "Mayday")||Nominated|||
|Writers Guild of America Awards||Dramatic Series||Marissa Jo Cerar, Yahlin Chang, Nina Fiore, Dorothy Fortenberry, Jacy Heldrich, John Herrera, Lynn Renee Maxcy, Bruce Miller, Kira Snyder and Eric Tuchman||Nominated|||
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Drama Series||Bruce Miller, Warren Littlefield, Elisabeth Moss, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, Mike Barker, Eric Tuchman, Sheila Hockin, John Weber, Frank Siracusa, Kira Snyder, Yahlin Chang, Margaret Atwood, Dorothy Fortenberry, Marissa Jo Cerar, Nina Fiore, John Herrera and Kim Todd||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Bradley Whitford (for "Sacrifice")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Samira Wiley (for "Sacrifice")||Nominated|
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series||Alexis Bledel (for "God Bless the Child")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series||Sharon Bialy, Sherry Thomas, Russell Scott, and Robin D. Cook||Nominated|
|Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes||Natalie Bronfman, Helena Davis Perry and Christina Cattle (for "Household")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Contemporary Hairstyling||Paul Elliot and Ewa Latak-Cynk (for "Liars")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Contemporary Makeup (Non-Prosthetic)||Burton LeBlanc and Alastair Muir (for "Mayday")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program (One Hour or More)||Elisabeth Williams, Martha Sparrow and Robert Hepburn (for "Household")||Won|
|Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting Role||Stephen Lebed, Brendan Taylor, Leo Bovell, Rob Greb, Gwen Zhang, Marlis Coto, Stephen Wagner, Josh Clark and James Minett (for "Household")||Nominated|
|2021||Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards||Best Streaming Series, Drama||The Handmaid's Tale||Nominated|||
|Best Actress in a Streaming Series, Drama||Elisabeth Moss||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor in a Streaming Series, Drama||Bradley Whitford||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress in a Streaming Series, Drama||Alexis Bledel||Nominated|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Drama Series||Bruce Miller, Warren Littlefield, Elisabeth Moss, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, Eric Tuchman, Sheila Hockin, John Weber, Frank Siracusa, Kira Snyder, Yahlin Chang, Dorothy Fortenberry, Margaret Atwood, Kim Todd, Matt Hastings, Nina Fiore and John Herrera||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series||Elisabeth Moss (for "Home")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||O-T Fagbenle (for "Home")||Nominated|
|Max Minghella (for "The Crossing")||Nominated|
|Bradley Whitford (for "Testimony")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series||Madeline Brewer (for "Testimony")||Nominated|
|Ann Dowd (for "Progress")||Nominated|
|Yvonne Strahovski (for "Home")||Nominated|
|Samira Wiley (for "Vows")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series||Liz Garbus(for "The Wilderness")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series||Yahlin Chang (for "Home")||Nominated|
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series||Alexis Bledel (for "Testimony")||Nominated|
|Mckenna Grace(for "Pigs")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series||Sharon Bialy, Sherry Thomas, Russell Scott and Robin D. Cook||Nominated|
|Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary Program (One Hour or More)||Elisabeth Williams, Martha Sparrow, Larry Spittle and Rob Hepburn (for "Chicago")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes||Debra Hanson, Jane Flanders and Darci Cheyne (for "Nightshade")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Contemporary Hairstyling||Paul Elliot and Franchi Pir (for "Vows")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Contemporary Makeup (Non-Prosthetic)||Burton LeBlanc and Alastair Muir (for "Pigs")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)||Adam Taylor (for "The Crossing")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series||Wendy Hallam Martin (for "The Crossing")||Nominated|
|Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One-Hour)||Lou Solakofski, Joe Morrow and Sylvain Arseneault (for "Chicago")||Nominated|
|Television Critics Association Awards||Outstanding Achievement in Drama||The Handmaid's Tale||Nominated|||
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For other uses, see Fairy tale (disambiguation).
For a comparison of fairy tale with other kinds of stories, such as myths, legends and fable, see Traditional story.
Fictional story typically featuring folkloric fantasy characters and magic
A fairy tale, fairytale, wonder tale, magic tale, fairy story or Märchen is an instance of European folklore genre that takes the form of a short story. Such stories typically feature mythical entities such as dwarfs, dragons, elves, fairies, giants, gnomes, goblins, griffins, mermaids, talking animals, trolls, unicorns, or witches, and usually magic or enchantments. In most cultures, there is no clear line separating myth from folk or fairy tale; all these together form the literature of preliterate societies. Fairy tales may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends (which generally involve belief in the veracity of the events described) and explicit moral tales, including beast fables.
In less technical contexts, the term is also used to describe something blessed with unusual happiness, as in "fairy-tale ending" (a happy ending) or "fairy-tale romance". Colloquially, the term "fairy tale" or "fairy story" can also mean any far-fetched story or tall tale; it is used especially of any story that not only is not true, but could not possibly be true. Legends are perceived as real within their culture; fairy tales may merge into legends, where the narrative is perceived both by teller and hearers as being grounded in historical truth. However, unlike legends and epics, fairy tales usually do not contain more than superficial references to religion and to actual places, people, and events; they take place "once upon a time" rather than in actual times.
Fairy tales occur both in oral and in literary form; the name "fairy tale" ("conte de fées" in French) was first ascribed to them by Madame d'Aulnoy in the late 17th century. Many of today's fairy tales have evolved from centuries-old stories that have appeared, with variations, in multiple cultures around the world. The history of the fairy tale is particularly difficult to trace because only the literary forms can survive. Still, according to researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon, such stories may date back thousands of years, some to the Bronze Age. Fairy tales, and works derived from fairy tales, are still written today.
Folklorists have classified fairy tales in various ways. The Aarne-Thompson classification system and the morphological analysis of Vladimir Propp are among the most notable. Other folklorists have interpreted the tales' significance, but no school has been definitively established for the meaning of the tales.
Some folklorists prefer to use the German term Märchen or "wonder tale" to refer to the genre rather than fairy tale, a practice given weight by the definition of Thompson in his 1977  edition of The Folktale: "a tale of some length involving a succession of motifs or episodes. It moves in an unreal world without definite locality or definite creatures and is filled with the marvellous. In this never-never land, humble heroes kill adversaries, succeed to kingdoms and marry princesses." The characters and motifs of fairy tales are simple and archetypal: princesses and goose-girls; youngest sons and gallant princes; ogres, giants, dragons, and trolls; wicked stepmothers and false heroes; fairy godmothers and other magical helpers, often talking horses, or foxes, or birds; glass mountains; and prohibitions and breaking of prohibitions.
Although the fairy tale is a distinct genre within the larger category of folktale, the definition that marks a work as a fairy tale is a source of considerable dispute. The term itself comes from the translation of Madame D'Aulnoy's Conte de fées, first used in her collection in 1697. Common parlance conflates fairy tales with beast fables and other folktales, and scholars differ on the degree to which the presence of fairies and/or similarly mythical beings (e.g., elves, goblins, trolls, giants, huge monsters, or mermaids) should be taken as a differentiator. Vladimir Propp, in his Morphology of the Folktale, criticized the common distinction between "fairy tales" and "animal tales" on the grounds that many tales contained both fantastic elements and animals. Nevertheless, to select works for his analysis, Propp used all Russian folktales classified as a folklore, Aarne–Thompson–Uther Index 300–749, – in a cataloguing system that made such a distinction – to gain a clear set of tales. His own analysis identified fairy tales by their plot elements, but that in itself has been criticized, as the analysis does not lend itself easily to tales that do not involve a quest, and furthermore, the same plot elements are found in non-fairy tale works.
Were I asked, what is a fairytale? I should reply, Read Undine: that is a fairytale ... of all fairytales I know, I think Undine the most beautiful.
— George MacDonald, The Fantastic Imagination
As Stith Thompson points out, talking animals and the presence of magic seem to be more common to the fairy tale than fairies themselves. However, the mere presence of animals that talk does not make a tale a fairy tale, especially when the animal is clearly a mask on a human face, as in fables.
In his essay "On Fairy-Stories", J. R. R. Tolkien agreed with the exclusion of "fairies" from the definition, defining fairy tales as stories about the adventures of men in Faërie, the land of fairies, fairytale princes and princesses, dwarves, elves, and not only other magical species but many other marvels. However, the same essay excludes tales that are often considered fairy tales, citing as an example The Monkey's Heart, which Andrew Lang included in The Lilac Fairy Book.
Steven Swann Jones identified the presence of magic as the feature by which fairy tales can be distinguished from other sorts of folktales. Davidson and Chaudri identify "transformation" as the key feature of the genre. From a psychological point of view, Jean Chiriac argued for the necessity of the fantastic in these narratives.
In terms of aesthetic values, Italo Calvino cited the fairy tale as a prime example of "quickness" in literature, because of the economy and concision of the tales.
History of the genre
Originally, stories that would contemporarily be considered fairy tales were not marked out as a separate genre. The German term "Märchen" stems from the old German word "Mär", which means story or tale. The word "Märchen" is the diminutive of the word "Mär", therefore it means a "little story". Together with the common beginning "once upon a time", this tells us that a fairy tale or a märchen was originally a little story from a long time ago when the world was still magic. (Indeed, one less regular German opening is "In the old times when wishing was still effective".)
The English term "fairy tale" stems from the fact that the French contes often included fairies.
Roots of the genre come from different oral stories passed down in European cultures. The genre was first marked out by writers of the Renaissance, such as Giovanni Francesco Straparola and Giambattista Basile, and stabilized through the works of later collectors such as Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm. In this evolution, the name was coined when the précieuses took up writing literary stories; Madame d'Aulnoy invented the term Conte de fée, or fairy tale, in the late 17th century.
Before the definition of the genre of fantasy, many works that would now be classified as fantasy were termed "fairy tales", including Tolkien's The Hobbit, George Orwell's Animal Farm, and L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Indeed, Tolkien's "On Fairy-Stories" includes discussions of world-building and is considered a vital part of fantasy criticism. Although fantasy, particularly the subgenre of fairytale fantasy, draws heavily on fairy tale motifs, the genres are now regarded as distinct.
Folk and literary
The fairy tale, told orally, is a sub-class of the folktale. Many writers have written in the form of the fairy tale. These are the literary fairy tales, or Kunstmärchen. The oldest forms, from Panchatantra to the Pentamerone, show considerable reworking from the oral form. The Grimm brothers were among the first to try to preserve the features of oral tales. Yet the stories printed under the Grimm name have been considerably reworked to fit the written form.
Literary fairy tales and oral fairy tales freely exchanged plots, motifs, and elements with one another and with the tales of foreign lands. The literary fairy tale came into fashion during the 17th century, developed by aristocratic women as a parlour game. This, in turn, helped to maintain the oral tradition. According to Jack Zipes, "The subject matter of the conversations consisted of literature, mores, taste, and etiquette, whereby the speakers all endeavoured to portray ideal situations in the most effective oratorical style that would gradually have a major effect on literary forms." Many 18th-century folklorists attempted to recover the "pure" folktale, uncontaminated by literary versions. Yet while oral fairy tales likely existed for thousands of years before the literary forms, there is no pure folktale, and each literary fairy tale draws on folk traditions, if only in parody. This makes it impossible to trace forms of transmission of a fairy tale. Oral story-tellers have been known to read literary fairy tales to increase their own stock of stories and treatments.
The oral tradition of the fairy tale came long before the written page. Tales were told or enacted dramatically, rather than written down, and handed down from generation to generation. Because of this, the history of their development is necessarily obscure and blurred. Fairy tales appear, now and again, in written literature throughout literate cultures,[a] as in The Golden Ass, which includes Cupid and Psyche (Roman, 100–200 AD), or the Panchatantra (India 3rd century BC), but it is unknown to what extent these reflect the actual folk tales even of their own time. The stylistic evidence indicates that these, and many later collections, reworked folk tales into literary forms. What they do show is that the fairy tale has ancient roots, older than the Arabian Nights collection of magical tales (compiled circa 1500 AD), such as Vikram and the Vampire, and Bel and the Dragon. Besides such collections and individual tales, in China, Taoist philosophers such as Liezi and Zhuangzi recounted fairy tales in their philosophical works. In the broader definition of the genre, the first famous Western fairy tales are those of Aesop (6th century BC) in ancient Greece.
Scholarship point that Medieval literature contains early versions or predecessor of later known tales and motifs, such as the grateful dead, The Bird Lover or quest for the lost wife. Recognizable folktales have also been reworked as the plot of folk literature and oral epics.
Jack Zipes writes in When Dreams Came True, "There are fairy tale elements in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, and in many of William Shakespeare plays."King Lear can be considered a literary variant of fairy tales such as Water and Salt and Cap O' Rushes. The tale itself resurfaced in Western literature in the 16th and 17th centuries, with The Facetious Nights of Straparola by Giovanni Francesco Straparola (Italy, 1550 and 1553), which contains many fairy tales in its inset tales, and the Neapolitan tales of Giambattista Basile (Naples, 1634–36), which are all fairy tales.Carlo Gozzi made use of many fairy tale motifs among his Commedia dell'Arte scenarios, including among them one based on The Love For Three Oranges (1761). Simultaneously, Pu Songling, in China, included many fairy tales in his collection, Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio (published posthumously, 1766). The fairy tale itself became popular among the précieuses of upper-class France (1690–1710), and among the tales told in that time were the ones of La Fontaine and the Contes of Charles Perrault (1697), who fixed the forms of Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Although Straparola's, Basile's and Perrault's collections contain the oldest known forms of various fairy tales, on the stylistic evidence, all the writers rewrote the tales for literary effect.
The Salon Era
In the mid-17th century, a vogue for magical tales emerged among the intellectuals who frequented the salons of Paris. These salons were regular gatherings hosted by prominent aristocratic women, where women and men could gather together to discuss the issues of the day.
In the 1630s, aristocratic women began to gather in their own living rooms, salons, to discuss the topics of their choice: arts and letters, politics, and social matters of immediate concern to the women of their class: marriage, love, financial and physical independence, and access to education. This was a time when women were barred from receiving a formal education. Some of the most gifted women writers of the period came out of these early salons (such as Madeleine de Scudéry and Madame de Lafayette), which encouraged women's independence and pushed against the gender barriers that defined their lives. The salonnières argued particularly for love and intellectual compatibility between the sexes, opposing the system of arranged marriages.
Sometime in the middle of the 17th century, a passion for the conversational parlour game based on the plots of old folk tales swept through the salons. Each salonnière was called upon to retell an old tale or rework an old theme, spinning clever new stories that not only showcased verbal agility and imagination but also slyly commented on the conditions of aristocratic life. Great emphasis was placed on a mode of delivery that seemed natural and spontaneous. The decorative language of the fairy tales served an important function: disguising the rebellious subtext of the stories and sliding them past the court censors. Critiques of court life (and even of the king) were embedded in extravagant tales and in dark, sharply dystopian ones. Not surprisingly, the tales by women often featured young (but clever) aristocratic girls whose lives were controlled by the arbitrary whims of fathers, kings, and elderly wicked fairies, as well as tales in which groups of wise fairies (i.e., intelligent, independent women) stepped in and put all to rights.
The salon tales as they were originally written and published have been preserved in a monumental work called Le Cabinet des Fées, an enormous collection of stories from the 17th and 18th centuries.
The first collectors to attempt to preserve not only the plot and characters of the tale, but also the style in which they were told, was the Brothers Grimm, collecting German fairy tales; ironically, this meant although their first edition (1812 & 1815) remains a treasure for folklorists, they rewrote the tales in later editions to make them more acceptable, which ensured their sales and the later popularity of their work.
Such literary forms did not merely draw from the folktale, but also influenced folktales in turn. The Brothers Grimm rejected several tales for their collection, though told orally to them by Germans, because the tales derived from Perrault, and they concluded they were thereby French and not German tales; an oral version of Bluebeard was thus rejected, and the tale of Little Briar Rose, clearly related to Perrault's The Sleeping Beauty, was included only because Jacob Grimm convinced his brother that the figure of Brynhildr, from much earlier Norse mythology, proved that the sleeping princess was authentically Germanic folklore.
This consideration of whether to keep Sleeping Beauty reflected a belief common among folklorists of the 19th century: that the folk tradition preserved fairy tales in forms from pre-history except when "contaminated" by such literary forms, leading people to tell inauthentic tales. The rural, illiterate, and uneducated peasants, if suitably isolated, were the folk and would tell pure folk tales. Sometimes they regarded fairy tales as a form of fossil, the remnants of a once-perfect tale. However, further research has concluded that fairy tales never had a fixed form, and regardless of literary influence, the tellers constantly altered them for their own purposes.
The work of the Brothers Grimm influenced other collectors, both inspiring them to collect tales and leading them to similarly believe, in a spirit of romantic nationalism, that the fairy tales of a country were particularly representative of it, to the neglect of cross-cultural influence. Among those influenced were the Russian Alexander Afanasyev (first published in 1866), the NorwegiansPeter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe (first published in 1845), the Romanian Petre Ispirescu (first published in 1874), the English Joseph Jacobs (first published in 1890), and Jeremiah Curtin, an American who collected Irish tales (first published in 1890). Ethnographers collected fairy tales throughout the world, finding similar tales in Africa, the Americas, and Australia; Andrew Lang was able to draw on not only the written tales of Europe and Asia, but those collected by ethnographers, to fill his "coloured" fairy books series. They also encouraged other collectors of fairy tales, as when Yei Theodora Ozaki created a collection, Japanese Fairy Tales (1908), after encouragement from Lang. Simultaneously, writers such as Hans Christian Andersen and George MacDonald continued the tradition of literary fairy tales. Andersen's work sometimes drew on old folktales, but more often deployed fairytale motifs and plots in new tales. MacDonald incorporated fairytale motifs both in new literary fairy tales, such as The Light Princess, and in works of the genre that would become fantasy, as in The Princess and the Goblin or Lilith.
Two theories of origins have attempted to explain the common elements in fairy tales found spread over continents. One is that a single point of origin generated any given tale, which then spread over the centuries; the other is that such fairy tales stem from common human experience and therefore can appear separately in many different origins.
Fairy tales with very similar plots, characters, and motifs are found spread across many different cultures. Many researchers hold this to be caused by the spread of such tales, as people repeat tales they have heard in foreign lands, although the oral nature makes it impossible to trace the route except by inference. Folklorists have attempted to determine the origin by internal evidence, which can not always be clear; Joseph Jacobs, comparing the Scottish tale The Ridere of Riddles with the version collected by the Brothers Grimm, The Riddle, noted that in The Ridere of Riddles one hero ends up polygamously married, which might point to an ancient custom, but in The Riddle, the simpler riddle might argue greater antiquity.
Folklorists of the "Finnish" (or historical-geographical) school attempted to place fairy tales to their origin, with inconclusive results. Sometimes influence, especially within a limited area and time, is clearer, as when considering the influence of Perrault's tales on those collected by the Brothers Grimm. Little Briar-Rose appears to stem from Perrault's The Sleeping Beauty, as the Grimms' tale appears to be the only independent German variant. Similarly, the close agreement between the opening of the Grimms' version of Little Red Riding Hood and Perrault's tale points to an influence, although the Grimms' version adds a different ending (perhaps derived from The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids).
Fairy tales tend to take on the color of their location, through the choice of motifs, the style in which they are told, and the depiction of character and local color.
The Brothers Grimm believed that European fairy tales derived from the cultural history shared by all Indo-European peoples and were therefore ancient, far older than written records. This view is supported by research by the anthropologist Jamie Tehrani and the folklorist Sara Graca Da Silva using phylogenetic analysis, a technique developed by evolutionary biologists to trace the relatedness of living and fossil species. Among the tales analysed were Jack and the Beanstalk, traced to the time of splitting of Eastern and Western Indo-European, over 5000 years ago. Both Beauty and the Beast and Rumpelstiltskin appear to have been created some 4000 years ago. The story of The Smith and the Devil (Deal with the Devil) appears to date from the Bronze Age, some 6000 years ago. However, the choice of the corpus of folktales and the method used by this study both make the results very suspicious. On the other hand, various studies converge to show that some fairy tales, for example the swan maiden, could go back to the Upper Palaeolithic.
Association with children
Originally, adults were the audience of a fairy tale just as often as children. Literary fairy tales appeared in works intended for adults, but in the 19th and 20th centuries the fairy tale became associated with children's literature.
The précieuses, including Madame d'Aulnoy, intended their works for adults, but regarded their source as the tales that servants, or other women of lower class, would tell to children. Indeed, a novel of that time, depicting a countess's suitor offering to tell such a tale, has the countess exclaim that she loves fairy tales as if she were still a child. Among the late précieuses, Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont redacted a version of Beauty and the Beast for children, and it is her tale that is best known today. The Brothers Grimm titled their collection Children's and Household Tales and rewrote their tales after complaints that they were not suitable for children.
In the modern era, fairy tales were altered so that they could be read to children. The Brothers Grimm concentrated mostly on sexual references;Rapunzel, in the first edition, revealed the prince's visits by asking why her clothing had grown tight, thus letting the witch deduce that she was pregnant, but in subsequent editions carelessly revealed that it was easier to pull up the prince than the witch. On the other hand, in many respects, violence—particularly when punishing villains—was increased. Other, later, revisions cut out violence; J. R. R. Tolkien noted that The Juniper Tree often had its cannibalistic stew cut out in a version intended for children. The moralizing strain in the Victorian era altered the classical tales to teach lessons, as when George Cruikshank rewrote Cinderella in 1854 to contain temperance themes. His acquaintance Charles Dickens protested, "In an utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected."
Psychoanalysts such as Bruno Bettelheim, who regarded the cruelty of older fairy tales as indicative of psychological conflicts, strongly criticized this expurgation, because it weakened their usefulness to both children and adults as ways of symbolically resolving issues. Fairy tales do teach children how to deal with difficult times. To quote Rebecca Walters (2017, p. 56) "Fairytales and folktales are part of the cultural conserve that can be used to address children’s fears …. and give them some role training in an approach that honors the children’s window of tolerance". These fairy tales teach children how to deal with certain social situations and helps them to find their place in society. Fairy tales teach children other important lessons too. For example, Tsitsani et al. carried out a study on children to determine the benefits of fairy tales. Parents of the children who took part in the study found that fairy tales, especially the color in them, triggered their child's imagination as they read them.Jungian Analyst and fairy tale scholar, Marie Louise Von Franz interprets fairy tales based on Jung's view of fairy tales as a spontaneous and naive product of soul, which can only express what soul is. That means, she looks at fairy tales as images of different phases of experiencing the reality of the soul. They are the "purest and simplest expression of collective unconscious psychic processes" and "they represent the archetypes in their simplest, barest and most concise form" because they are less overlaid with conscious material than myths and legends. "In this pure form, the archetypal images afford us the best clues to the understanding of the processes going on in the collective psyche". "The fairy tale itself is its own best explanation; that is, its meaning is contained in the totality of its motifs connected by the thread of the story. [...] Every fairy tale is a relatively closed system compounding one essential psychological meaning which is expressed in a series of symbolical pictures and events and is discoverable in these". "I have come to the conclusion that all fairy tales endeavour to describe one and the same psychic fact, but a fact so complex and far-reaching and so difficult for us to realize in all its different aspects that hundreds of tales and thousands of repetitions with a musician's variation are needed until this unknown fact is delivered into consciousness; and even then the theme is not exhausted. This unknown fact is what Jung calls the Self, which is the psychic reality of the collective unconscious. [...] Every archetype is in its essence only one aspect of the collective unconscious as well as always representing also the whole collective unconscious.
Other famous people commented on the importance of fairy tales, especially for children. For example, Albert Einstein once showed how important he believed fairy tales were for children's intelligence in the quote "If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairytales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales."
The adaptation of fairy tales for children continues. Walt Disney's influential Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was largely (although certainly not solely) intended for the children's market. The animeMagical Princess Minky Momo draws on the fairy tale Momotarō. Jack Zipes has spent many years working to make the older traditional stories accessible to modern readers and their children.
Many fairy tales feature an absentee mother, as an example Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Little Red Riding Hood and Donkeyskin, where the mother is deceased or absent and unable to help the heroines. Mothers are depicted as absent or wicked in the most popular contemporary versions of tales like Rapunzel, Snow White, Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel, however, some lesser known tales or variants such as those found in volumes edited by Angela Carter and Jane Yolen depict mothers in a more positive light.
Carter's protagonist in The Bloody Chamber is an impoverished piano student married to a Marquis who was much older than herself to "banish the spectre of poverty". The story a variant on Bluebeard, a tale about a wealthy man who murders numerous young women. Carter's protagonist, who is unnamed, describes her mother as "eagle-featured" and "indomitable". Her mother is depicted as a woman who is prepared for violence, instead of hiding from it or sacrificing herself to it. The protagonist recalls how her mother kept an "antique service revolver" and once "shot a man-eating tiger with her own hand."
In contemporary literature, many authors have used the form of fairy tales for various reasons, such as examining the human condition from the simple framework a fairytale provides. Some authors seek to recreate a sense of the fantastic in a contemporary discourse. Some writers use fairy tale forms for modern issues; this can include using the psychological dramas implicit in the story, as when Robin McKinley retold Donkeyskin as the novel Deerskin, with emphasis on the abusive treatment the father of the tale dealt to his daughter. Sometimes, especially in children's literature, fairy tales are retold with a twist simply for comic effect, such as The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka and The ASBO Fairy Tales by Chris Pilbeam. A common comic motif is a world where all the fairy tales take place, and the characters are aware of their role in the story, such as in the film series Shrek.
Other authors may have specific motives, such as multicultural or feminist reevaluations of predominantly Eurocentric masculine-dominated fairy tales, implying critique of older narratives. The figure of the damsel in distress has been particularly attacked by many feminist critics. Examples of narrative reversal rejecting this figure include The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch, a picture book aimed at children in which a princess rescues a prince, Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber, which retells a number of fairy tales from a female point of view and Simon Hood's contemporary interpretation of various popular classics.
There are also many contemporary erotic retellings of fairy tales, which explicitly draw upon the original spirit of the tales, and are specifically for adults. Modern retellings focus on exploring the tale through use of the erotic, explicit sexuality, dark and/or comic themes, female empowerment, fetish and BDSM, multicultural, and heterosexual characters. Cleis Press has released several fairy tale themed erotic anthologies, including Fairy Tale Lust, Lustfully Ever After, and A Princess Bound.
It may be hard to lay down the rule between fairy tales and fantasies that use fairy tale motifs, or even whole plots, but the distinction is commonly made, even within the works of a single author: George MacDonald's Lilith and Phantastes are regarded as fantasies, while his "The Light Princess", "The Golden Key", and "The Wise Woman" are commonly called fairy tales. The most notable distinction is that fairytale fantasies, like other fantasies, make use of novelistic writing conventions of prose, characterization, or setting.
Fairy tales have been enacted dramatically; records exist of this in commedia dell'arte, and later in pantomime. The advent of cinema has meant that such stories could be presented in a more plausible manner, with the use of special effects and animation. The Walt Disney Company has had a significant impact on the evolution of the fairy tale film. Some of the earliest short silent films from the Disney studio were based on fairy tales, and some fairy tales were adapted into shorts in the musical comedy series "Silly Symphony", such as Three Little Pigs. Walt Disney's first feature-length film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, released in 1937, was a ground-breaking film for fairy tales and, indeed, fantasy in general. Disney and his creative successors have returned to traditional and literary fairy tales numerous times with films such as Cinderella (1950), Sleeping Beauty (1959), The Little Mermaid (1989) and Beauty and the Beast (1991). Disney's influence helped establish the fairy tale genre as a genre for children, and has been accused by some of bowdlerizing the gritty naturalism – and sometimes unhappy endings – of many folk fairy tales. However, others note that the softening of fairy tales occurred long before Disney, some of which was even done by the Grimm brothers themselves.
Many filmed fairy tales have been made primarily for children, from Disney's later works to Aleksandr Rou's retelling of Vasilissa the Beautiful, the first Soviet film to use Russian folk tales in a big-budget feature. Others have used the conventions of fairy tales to create new stories with sentiments more relevant to contemporary life, as in Labyrinth,My Neighbor Totoro, Happily N'Ever After, and the films of Michel Ocelot.
Other works have retold familiar fairy tales in a darker, more horrific or psychological variant aimed primarily at adults. Notable examples are Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast and The Company of Wolves, based on Angela Carter's retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Likewise, Princess Mononoke,Pan's Labyrinth,Suspiria, and Spike create new stories in this genre from fairy tale and folklore motifs.
In comics and animated TV series, The Sandman, Revolutionary Girl Utena, Princess Tutu, Fables and MÄR all make use of standard fairy tale elements to various extents but are more accurately categorised as fairytale fantasy due to the definite locations and characters which a longer narrative requires.
A more modern cinematic fairy tale would be Luchino Visconti's Le Notti Bianche, starring Marcello Mastroianni before he became a superstar. It involves many of the romantic conventions of fairy tales, yet it takes place in post-World War II Italy, and it ends realistically.
Any comparison of fairy tales quickly discovers that many fairy tales have features in common with each other. Two of the most influential classifications are those of Antti Aarne, as revised by Stith Thompson into the Aarne-Thompson classification system, and Vladimir Propp's Morphology of the Folk Tale.
This system groups fairy and folk tales according to their overall plot. Common, identifying features are picked out to decide which tales are grouped together. Much therefore depends on what features are regarded as decisive.
For instance, tales like Cinderella – in which a persecuted heroine, with the help of the fairy godmother or similar magical helper, attends an event (or three) in which she wins the love of a prince and is identified as his true bride—are classified as type 510, the persecuted heroine. Some such tales are The Wonderful Birch; Aschenputtel; Katie Woodencloak; The Story of Tam and Cam; Ye Xian; Cap O' Rushes; Catskin; Fair, Brown and Trembling; Finette Cendron; Allerleirauh.
Further analysis of the tales shows that in Cinderella, The Wonderful Birch, The Story of Tam and Cam, Ye Xian, and Aschenputtel, the heroine is persecuted by her stepmother and refused permission to go to the ball or other event, and in Fair, Brown and Trembling and Finette Cendron by her sisters and other female figures, and these are grouped as 510A; while in Cap O' Rushes, Catskin, and Allerleirauh, the heroine is driven from home by her father's persecutions, and must take work in a kitchen elsewhere, and these are grouped as 510B. But in Katie Woodencloak, she is driven from home by her stepmother's persecutions and must take service in a kitchen elsewhere, and in Tattercoats, she is refused permission to go to the ball by her grandfather. Given these features common with both types of 510, Katie Woodencloak is classified as 510A because the villain is the stepmother, and Tattercoats as 510B because the grandfather fills the father's role.
This system has its weaknesses in the difficulty of having no way to classify subportions of a tale as motifs. Rapunzel is type 310 (The Maiden in the Tower), but it opens with a child being demanded in return for stolen food, as does Puddocky; but Puddocky is not a Maiden in the Tower tale, while The Canary Prince, which opens with a jealous stepmother, is.
It also lends itself to emphasis on the common elements, to the extent that the folklorist describes The Black Bull of Norroway as the same story as Beauty and the Beast. This can be useful as a shorthand but can also erase the coloring and details of a story.
Vladimir Propp specifically studied a collection of Russian fairy tales, but his analysis has been found useful for the tales of other countries. Having criticized Aarne-Thompson type analysis for ignoring what motifs did in stories, and because the motifs used were not clearly distinct, he analyzed the tales for the function each character and action fulfilled and concluded that a tale was composed of thirty-one elements ('functions') and seven characters or 'spheres of action' ('the princess and her father' are a single sphere). While the elements were not all required for all tales, when they appeared they did so in an invariant order – except that each individual element might be negated twice, so that it would appear three times, as when, in Brother and Sister, the brother resists drinking from enchanted streams twice, so that it is the third that enchants him. Propp's 31 functions also fall within six 'stages' (preparation, complication, transference, struggle, return, recognition), and a stage can also be repeated, which can affect the perceived order of elements.
One such element is the donor who gives the hero magical assistance, often after testing him. In The Golden Bird, the talking fox tests the hero by warning him against entering an inn and, after he succeeds, helps him find the object of his quest; in The Boy Who Drew Cats, the priest advised the hero to stay in small places at night, which protects him from an evil spirit; in Cinderella, the fairy godmother gives Cinderella the dresses she needs to attend the ball, as their mothers' spirits do in Bawang Putih Bawang Merah and The Wonderful Birch; in The Fox Sister, a Buddhist monk gives the brothers magical bottles to protect against the fox spirit. The roles can be more complicated. In The Red Ettin, the role is split into the mother—who offers the hero the whole of a journey cake with her curse or half with her blessing—and when he takes the half, a fairy who gives him advice; in Mr Simigdáli, the sun, the moon, and the stars all give the heroine a magical gift. Characters who are not always the donor can act like the donor. In Kallo and the Goblins, the villain goblins also give the heroine gifts, because they are tricked; in Schippeitaro, the evil cats betray their secret to the hero, giving him the means to defeat them. Other fairy tales, such as The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was, do not feature the donor.
Analogies have been drawn between this and the analysis of myths into the hero's journey.
Many fairy tales have been interpreted for their (purported) significance. One mythological interpretation saw many fairy tales, including Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, and The Frog King, as solar myths; this mode of interpretation subsequently became rather less popular.Freudian, Jungian, and other psychological analyses have also explicated many tales, but no mode of interpretation has established itself definitively.
Specific analyses have often been criticized[by whom?] for lending great importance to motifs that are not, in fact, integral to the tale; this has often stemmed from treating one instance of a fairy tale as the definitive text, where the tale has been told and retold in many variations. In variants of Bluebeard, the wife's curiosity is betrayed by a blood-stained key, by an egg's breaking, or by the singing of a rose she wore, without affecting the tale, but interpretations of specific variants have claimed that the precise object is integral to the tale.
Other folklorists have interpreted tales as historical documents. Many[quantify] German folklorists, believing the tales to have preserved details from ancient times, have used the Grimms' tales to explain ancient customs.
One approach sees the topography of European Märchen as echoing the period immediately following the last Ice Age. Other folklorists have explained the figure of the wicked stepmother in a historical/sociological context: many women did die in childbirth, their husbands remarried, and the new stepmothers competed with the children of the first marriage for resources.
In a 2012 lecture, Jack Zipes reads fairy tales as examples of what he calls "childism". He suggests that there are terrible aspects to the tales, which (among other things) have conditioned children to accept mistreatment and even abuse.
Fairy tales in music
Fairy tales have inspired music, namely opera, such as the French Opéra féerie and the German Märchenoper. French examples include Gretry's Zémire et Azor, and Auber's Le cheval de bronze, German operas are Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel, Siegfried Wagner's An allem ist Hütchen schuld!, which is based on many fairy tales, and Carl Orff's Die Kluge.
Ballet, too, is fertile ground for bringing fairy tales to life. Igor Stravinsky's first ballet, The Firebird uses elements from various classic Russian tales in that work.
Even contemporary fairy tales have been written for the purpose of inspiration in the music world. "Raven Girl" by Audrey Niffenegger was written to inspire a new dance for the Royal Ballet in London. The song "Singring and the Glass Guitar" by the American band Utopia, recorded for their album "Ra", is called "An Electrified Fairytale". Composed by the four members of the band, Roger Powell, Kasim Sulton, Willie Wilcox and Todd Rundgren, it tells the story of the theft of the Glass Guitar by Evil Forces, which has to be recovered by the four heroes.
See also: Collections of fairy tales
Authors and works:
From many countries
- Pentamerone (Italy, 1634–1636) by Giambattista Basile
- Giovanni Francesco Straparola (Italy, 16th century)
- Giuseppe Pitrè, Italian collector of folktales from his native Sicily (Italy, 1841–1916)
- Laura Gonzenbach, Swiss collector of Sicilian folk tales (Switzerland, 1842–1878)
- Domenico Comparetti, Italian scholar (Italy, 1835–1927)
- Thomas Frederick Crane, American lawyer (United States, 1844–1927)
- Luigi Capuana, Italian author of literary fiabe
- Italian Folktales (Italy, 1956) by Italo Calvino
- Charles Perrault (France, 1628–1703)
- Eustache Le Noble, French writer of literary fairy tales (France, 1646–1711)
- Madame d'Aulnoy (France, 1650–1705)
- Emmanuel Cosquin, French collector of Lorraine fairy tales and one of the earliest tale comparativists (France, 1841–1919)
- Paul Sébillot, collector of folktales from Brittany, France (France, 1843–1918)
- François-Marie Luzel, French collector of Brittany folktales (France, 1821–1895)
- Charles Deulin, French author and foklorist (France, 1827–1877)
- Édouard René de Laboulaye, French jurist, poet and publisher of folk tales and literary fairy tales
- Henri Pourrat, French collector of Auvergne folklore (1887–1959)
- Achille Millien, collector of Nivernais folklore (France, 1838–1927)
- Paul Delarue, establisher of the French folktale catalogue (France, 1889–1956)
United Kingdom and Ireland
- Joseph Jacobs's two books of Celtic Fairytales and two books of English Folktales (1854–1916)
- Alan Garner's Book of British Fairy Tales (United Kingdom, 1984) by Alan Garner
- Old English fairy tales by Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould (1895)
- Popular Tales of the West Highlands (Scotland, 1862) by John Francis Campbell
- Jeremiah Curtin, collector of Irish folktales and translator of Slavic fairy tales (Ireland, 1835–1906)
- Patrick Kennedy, Irish educator and folklorist (Ireland, ca. 1801–1873)
- Séamus Ó Duilearga, Irish folklorist (Ireland, 1899–1980)
- W. B. Yeats, Irish poet and publisher of Irish folktales
- Peter and the Piskies: Cornish Folk and Fairy Tales (United Kingdom, 1958), by Ruth Manning-Sanders
- Hans Christian Andersen, Danish author of literary fairy tales (Denmark, 1805–1875)
- Helena Nyblom, Swedish author of literary fairy tales (Sweden, 1843–1926)
- Norwegian Folktales (Norway, 1845–1870) by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe
- Svenska folksagor och äfventyr (Sweden, 1844–1849) by Gunnar Olof Hyltén-Cavallius
- August Bondeson, collector of Swedish folktales (1854–1906)
- Jyske Folkeminder by Evald Tang Kristensen (Denmark, 1843–1929)
- Svend Grundtvig, Danish folktale collector (Denmark, 1824–1883)
- Benjamin Thorpe, English scholar of Anglo-Saxon literature and translator of Nordic and Scandinavian folktales (1782–1870)
- Jón Árnason, collector of Icelandic folklore
- Adeline Rittershaus, German philologist and translator of Icelandic folktales
Estonia, Finland and Baltic Region
Russia and Slavic regions
See also: Russian Fairy Tales (disambiguation)
- Narodnye russkie skazki (Russia, 1855–1863) by Alexander Afanasyev
- Louis Léger, French translator of Slavic fairy tales (France, 1843–1923)
- Oskar Kolberg, Polish ethnographer who compiled several Polish folk and fairy tales (Poland, 1814–1890)
- Zygmunt Gloger, Polish historian and ethnographer (1845-1910)
- Božena Němcová, writer and collector of Czech fairy tales (Czech Republic, 1820?–1862)
- Alfred Waldau (cs), editor and translator of Czech fairy tales
- Jan Karel Hraše (cs), writer and publisher of Czech fairy tales
- František Lazecký (cs), publisher of Silesian fairy tales (Slezské pohádky) (1975–1977)
- Pavol Dobšinský, collector of Slovak folktales (1828–1885)
- August Horislav Škultéty, Slovak writer (1819–1895)
- Albert Wratislaw, collector of Slavic folktales
- Karel Jaromír Erben, poet, folklorist and publisher of Czech folktales (1811–1870)
- Vuk Karadžić, Serbian philogist (Serbia, 1787–1864)
- Elodie Lawton, British writer and translator of Serbian folktales (1825–1908)
- Friedrich Salomon Krauss, collector of South Slavic folklore
Balkan Area and Eastern Europe
- Johann Georg von Hahn, Austrian diplomat and collector of Albanian and Greek folklore (1811–1869)
- Auguste Dozon, French scholar and diplomat who studied Albanian folklore (1822–1890)
- Robert Elsie, Canadian-born German Albanologist (Canada, 1950–2017)
- Donat Kurti, Albanian franciscan friar, educator, scholar and folklorist (1903–1983)
- Anton Çetta, Albanian folklorist, academic and university professor from Yugoslavia (1920–1995)
- Lucy Garnett, British traveller and folklorist on Turkey and Balkanic folklore (1849–1934)
- Francis Hindes Groome, English scholar of Romani populations (England, 1851–1902)
Spain and Portugal
- Fernán Caballero (Cecilia Böhl de Faber) (Spain, 1796–1877)
- Francisco Maspons y Labrós (Spain, 1840–1901)
- Antoni Maria Alcover i Sureda, priest, writer and collector of folktales in Catalan from Mallorca (Majorca, 1862–1932)
- Julio Camarena (es), Spanish folklorist (1949–2004)
- Teófilo Braga, collector of Portuguese folktales (Portugal, 1843–1924)
- Zófimo Consiglieri Pedroso, Portuguese folklorist (Portugal, 1851–1910)
- Wentworth Webster, collector of Basque folklore
- Elsie Spicer Eells, researcher on Iberian folklore (Portuguese and Brazilian)
- Hovhannes Tumanyan, Armenian poet and writer who reworked folkloric material into literary fairy tales (1869-1923)
- Antoine Galland, French translator of the Arabian Nights (France, 1646–1715)
- Gaston Maspero, French translator of Egyptian and Middle Eastern folktales (France, 1846–1916)
- Hasan M. El-Shamy, establisher of a catalogue classification of Arab and Middle Eastern folktales
- Amina Shah, British anthologiser of Sufi stories and folk tales (1918–2014)
- Raphael Patai, scholar of Jewish folklore (1910–1996)
- Howard Schwartz, collector and publisher of Jewish folktales (1945–)
- Heda Jason (de), Israeli folklorist
- Dov Noy (de), Israeli folklorist (1920–2013)
South Asia, India and Sri Lanka
- Panchatantra (India, 3rd century BC)
- Kathasaritsagara, compilation of Indian folklore made by Somadeva in the 11th century CE
- Lal Behari Dey, reverend and recorder of Bengali folktales (India, 1824–1892)
- James Hinton Knowles, missionary and collector of Kashmiri folklore
- Maive Stokes, Indian-born British author (1866–1961)
- Joseph Jacobs's book of Indian Fairy Tales (1854–1916)
- Natesa Sastri's collection of Tamil folklore and translation of Madanakamaraja Katha
- Village Folk-Tales of Ceylon, three volumes by H. Parker (1910)
- Pandit Ram Gharib Chaube and British orientalist William Crooke
- Verrier Elwin, ethographer and collector of Indian folk tales (1902–1964)
- A. K. Ramanujan, poet and scholar of Indian literature (1929–1993)
- Santal Folk Tales, three volumes by Paul Olaf Bodding (1925–29)
- Marius Barbeau, Canadian folklorist (Canada, 1883–1969)
- Geneviève Massignon, scholar and publisher of French Acadian folklore (1921–1966)
- Carmen Roy (fr), Canadian folklorist (1919–2006)
- Joel Chandler Harris's Uncle Remus series of books
- Tales from the Cloud Walking Country, by Marie Campbell
- Ruth Ann Musick, scholar of West Virginian folklore (1897–1974)
- Vance Randolph, folklorist who studied the folklore of the Ozarks (1892–1980)
- Cuentos populares mexicanos (Mexico, 2014) by Fabio Morábito
- Rafael Rivero Oramas, collector of Venezuelan tales. Author of El mundo de Tío Conejo, collection of Tío Tigre and Tío Conejo tales.
- Américo Paredes, author specialized in folklore from Mexico and the Mexican-American border (1915–1999)
- Elsie Clews Parsons, American anthropologist and collector of folkales from Central American countries (New York City, 1875–1941)
- John Alden Mason, American linguist and collector of Porto Rican folklore (1885–1967)
- Aurelio Macedonio Espinosa Sr., scholar of Spanish folklore (1880–1958)
- Hans Stumme, scholar and collector of North African folklore (1864–1936)
- Sigrid Schmidt, folklorist and collector of folktales from the Southern part of Africa
- ^Scholars John Th. Honti and Gédeon Huet asserted the existence of fairy tales in ancient and medieval literature, as well as in classical mythology. Likewise, according to professor Berlanga Fernández, elements of international "Märchen" show "exact parallels and themes (...) that seem to be common with Greek folklore and later tradition".
- ^Bettelheim, Bruno (1989). The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, wonder tale, magic tale. New York: Vintage Books. pp. 25. ISBN .
- ^Thompson, Stith. Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology & Legend, 1972 s.v. "Fairy Tale"
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- ^Orenstein, p. 9.
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- ^Adalmina's Pearl – TV Tropes
- ^ abA companion to the fairy tale. By Hilda Ellis Davidson, Anna Chaudhri. Boydell & Brewer 2006. p. 39.
- ^Stith Thompson, The Folktale, 1977 (Thompson: 8).
- ^Byatt, p. xviii.
- ^Heidi Anne Heiner, "What Is a Fairy Tale?
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- ^Propp, p. 5.
- ^Propp, p. 19.
- ^Swann Jones, p. 15.
- ^Stith Thompson, The Folktale, p. 55, University of California Press, Berkeley Los Angeles London, 1977
- ^ abTolkien, p. 15.
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- ^The Fairy Tale: The Magic Mirror of the Imagination. Routledge, 2002, p. 8.
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- ^Zipes, The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, pp. xi–xii
- ^Zipes, The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, p. 858.
- ^Brian Attebery, The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature, p. 83, ISBN 0-253-35665-2.
- ^Martin, pp. 38–42
- ^ abSwann Jones, p. 35.
- ^Brian Attebery, The Fantasy Tradition in Matthew's American Literature, p. 5, ISBN 0-253-35665-2.
- ^Zipes, The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, p. xii.
- ^Zipes, Jack (2013). Fairy tale as myth/myth as fairy tale. University of Kentucky Press. pp. 20–21.
- ^ abZipes, The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, p. 846.
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- ^ abcdefghijHeidi Anne Heiner, "Fairy Tale Timeline"
- ^ abMoss Roberts, "Introduction", p. xviii, Chinese Fairy Tales & Fantasies. ISBN 0-394-73994-9.
- ^Szoverffy, Joseph (July 1960). "Some Notes on Medieval Studies and Folklore". The Journal of American Folklore. 73 (289): 239–244. doi:10.2307/537977. JSTOR 537977.
- ^Bošković-Stulli, Maja. "SIŽEI NARODNIH BAJKI U HRVATSKOSRPSKIM EPSKIM PJESMAMA [Subjects of folk tales in Croato-Serbian epics]". In: Narodna umjetnost 1, br. 1 (1962): 15–36. https://hrcak.srce.hr/34044
- ^Zipes, When Dreams Came True: Classical Fairy Tales and Their Tradition, p. 12.
- ^Soula Mitakidou and Anthony L. Manna, with Melpomene Kanatsouli, Folktales from Greece: A Treasury of Delights, p. 100, Libraries Unlimited, Greenwood Village CO, 2002, ISBN 1-56308-908-4.
- ^Swann Jones, p. 38.
- ^Terri Windling (1995). "White as Ricotta, Red as Wine: The Magic Lore of Italy". Realms of Fantasy. Archived from the original on 10 February 2014.
- ^Calvino, Italian Folktales, p. 738.
- ^Zipes, When Dreams Came True: Classical Fairy Tales and Their Tradition, pp. 38–42.
- ^Swann Jones, pp. 38–39.
- ^Swann Jones, p. 40.
- ^G. Ronald Murphy, The Owl, The Raven, and the Dove: The Religious Meaning of the Grimms' Magic Fairy Tales, ISBN 0-19-515169-0.
- ^Zipes, When Dreams Came True: Classical Fairy Tales and Their Tradition, p. 77.
- ^Degh, pp. 66–67.
- ^Iona and Peter Opie, The Classic Fairy Tales p. 17. ISBN 978-0-19-211559-1.
- ^Jane Yolen, p. 22, Touch Magic. ISBN 0-87483-591-7.
- ^Andrew Lang, The Brown Fairy Book, "Preface"
- ^Yei Theodora Ozaki, Japanese Fairy Tales, "Preface"
- ^Grant and Clute, "Hans Christian Andersen", pp. 26–27.
- ^Grant and Clute, "George MacDonald", p. 604.
- ^Orenstein, pp. 77–78.
- ^Zipes, The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, p. 845.
- ^Joseph Jacobs, More Celtic Fairy Tales. London: David Nutt, 1894, "Notes and ReferencesArchived 2010-02-06 at the Wayback Machine"
- ^Calvino, Italian Folktales, p. xx.
- ^Zipes, The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, p. 962.
- ^Velten, pp. 966–67.
- ^Calvino, Italian Folktales, p. xxi.
- ^"Fairy tale origins thousands of years old, researchers say". BBC News. British Broadcasting Corporation. 20 January 2016. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
- ^d'Huy, Julien; Le Quellec, Jean-Loïc; Berezkin, Yuri; Lajoye, Patrice; Uther, Hans-Jörg (10 October 2017). "Studying folktale diffusion needs unbiased dataset". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 114 (41): E8555. doi:10.1073/pnas.1714884114. PMC 5642731. PMID 29073007.
- ^d'Huy, Julien; Berezkin, Yuri (2017). "How Did the First Humans Perceive the Starry Night? On the Pleiades". The Retrospective Methods Network Newsletter (12–13): 100.
- ^Hatt, Gudmund (1949). Asiatic influences in American folklore. København: I kommission hos ejnar Munksgaard. pp. 94–96, 107. OCLC 21629218.
- ^Berezkin, Yuri (2010). "Sky-maiden and world mythology". Iris. 31: 27–39.
- ^d'Huy, Julien (2016). "Le motif de la femme-oiseau (T111.2.) et ses origines paléolithiques". Mythologie française (265): 4.
- ^Zipes, When Dreams Came True: Classical Fairy Tales and Their Tradition, p. 1.
- ^Lewis Seifert, "The Marvelous in Context: The Place of the Contes de Fées in Late Seventeenth Century France", Jack Zipes, ed., The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm, p. 913.
- ^Seifert, p. 915.
- ^Zipes, When Dreams Came True: Classical Fairy Tales and Their Tradition, p. 47.
- ^Tatar, The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales, p. 19.
- ^Tatar, The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales, p. 20.
- ^Tatar, The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales, p. 32.
- ^Byatt, pp. xlii–xliv.
- ^Tolkien, p. 31.
- ^Briggs, pp. 181–82.
- ^"A Transcription of Charles Dickens's "Frauds on the Fairies" (1 October 1853)". Victorianweb.org. 23 January 2006. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- ^Jack Zipes, The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World, p. 48, ISBN 0-312-29380-1.
- ^Walters, Rebecca (April 2017). "Fairytales, psychodrama and action methods: ways of helping traumatized children to heal". Zeitschrift für Psychodrama und Soziometrie. 16 (1): 53–60. doi:10.1007/s11620-017-0381-1. S2CID 151699614.
- ^Tsitsani, P.; Psyllidou, S.; Batzios, S. P.; Livas, S.; Ouranos, M.; Cassimos, D. (March 2012). "Fairy tales: a compass for children's healthy development – a qualitative study in a Greek island: Fairy tales: a timeless value". Child: Care, Health and Development. 38 (2): 266–272. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2011.01216.x. PMID 21375565.
- ^For a comprehensive introduction into fairy tale interpretation, and main terms of Jungian Psychology (Anima, Animus, Shadow) see Marie-Louise von Franz. "An Introduction to the Psychology of Fairytales". Zurich, New York 1970.
- ^Jung, C. G. (1969). "The Phenomenology of the Spirit in Fairytales". Four Archetypes. Princeton University Press. pp. 83–132. ISBN . JSTOR j.ctt7sw9v.7.
- ^von Franz, Marie-Louise (1970), An Introduction to the Psychology of Fairytales, Zurich, New York: Spring publications, ISBN 0-88214-101-5] 1–2 (chapter 1)
- ^Henley, Jon (23 August 2013). "Philip Pullman: 'Loosening the chains of the imagination'". The Guardian. ProQuest 1427525203.
- ^ abGrant and Clute, "Cinema", p. 196.
- ^Drazen, pp. 43–44.
- ^Wolf, Eric James The Art of Storytelling Show Interview Jack Zipes – Are Fairy tales still useful to Children?Archived 7 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- ^ abSchanoes, Veronica L. (2014). Fairy Tales, Myth, and Psychoanalytic Theory:Feminism and Retelling the Tale. Ashgate.
- ^Zipes, When Dreams Came True: Classical Fairy Tales and Their Tradition and so on!, pp. 24–25.
- ^Grant and Clute, "Fairytale", p. 333.
- ^Martin, p. 41.
- ^ abHelen Pilinovsky (2001). "Donkeyskin, Deerskin, Allerleirauh: The Reality of the Fairy Tale". Realms of Fantasy. Archived from the original on 25 March 2014.
- ^Briggs, p. 195.
- ^Zipes, The Brothers Grimm: From Enchanted Forests to the Modern World, pp. 251–52.
- ^"Angela Carter – The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories". Angelfire.com. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
- ^"Famous Fairy Tales". Sooper Books. 13 July 2021.
- ^Diana Waggoner, The Hills of Faraway: A Guide to Fantasy, pp. 22–23, ISBN 0-689-10846-X.
- ^Grant and Clute, "Commedia Dell'Arte", p. 219.
- ^Grant and Clute, "Commedia Dell'Arte", p. 745.
- ^Stone, Kay (July 1981). "Marchen to Fairy Tale: An Unmagical Transformation". Western Folklore. 40 (3): 232–244. doi:10.2307/1499694. JSTOR 1499694.
- ^Tatar, M. (1987). The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales. Princeton University Press. p. 24. ISBN .
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- ^Richard Scheib, Review of Labyrinth
- ^Drazen, p. 264.
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- ^Terri Windling (2004). "The Path of Needles or Pins: Little Red Riding Hood". Archived from the original on 20 September 2013.
- ^Drazen, p. 38.
- ^Spelling, Ian (25 December 2006). "Guillermo del Toro and Ivana Baquero escape from a civil war into the fairytale land of Pan's Labyrinth". Science Fiction Weekly. Archived from the original on 7 July 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2007.
The Handmaid's Tale
For the television series, see The Handmaid's Tale (TV series). For other uses, see The Handmaid's Tale (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with The Handmaiden.
1985 novel by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale is a dystopian novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood, published in 1985. It is set in a near-future New England, in a strongly patriarchal, totalitariantheonomic state, known as Republic of Gilead, that has overthrown the United States government. The central character and narrator is a woman named Offred, one of the group known as "handmaids", who are forcibly assigned to produce children for the "commanders" – the ruling class of men in Gilead.
The novel explores themes of subjugated women in a patriarchal society, loss of female agency and individuality, and the various means by which they resist and attempt to gain individuality and independence. The novel's title echoes the component parts of Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, which is a series of connected stories (such as "The Merchant's Tale" and "The Parson's Tale").It is also an allusion to the tradition of fairy tales where the central character tells their story.
The Handmaid's Tale won the 1985 Governor General's Award and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987; it was also nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award, the 1986 Booker Prize, and the 1987 Prometheus Award. The book has been adapted into a 1990 film, a 2000 opera, a 2017 television series, and other media.
The ebook version was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
A sequel novel, The Testaments, was published in 2019.
After a staged attack that killed the President of the United States and most of Congress, a radical political group called the "Sons of Jacob" uses theonomic ideology to launch a revolution. The United States Constitution is suspended, newspapers are censored, and what was formerly the United States of America is changed into a military dictatorship known as the Republic of Gilead. The new regime moves quickly to consolidate its power, overtaking all other religious groups, including traditional Christian denominations. In addition, the regime reorganizes society using a peculiar interpretation of some Old Testament ideas, and a new militarized, hierarchical model of social and religious fanaticism among its newly created social classes. Above all, the biggest change is the severe limitation of people's rights, especially those of women, who are not allowed to read, write, own property, or handle money. Most significantly, women are deprived of control over their own reproductive functions.
The story is told in first-person narration by a woman named Offred. In this era of environmental pollution and radiation, she is one of the few remaining fertile women. Therefore, she is forcibly assigned to produce children for the "Commanders," the ruling class of men, and is known as a "Handmaid" based on the biblical story of Rachel and her handmaid Bilhah. Apart from Handmaids, other women are also classed socially and follow a strict dress code, ranked highest to lowest: the Commanders' Wives in blue; the Handmaids in red with white veils around their faces; the Aunts (who train and indoctrinate the Handmaids) in brown; the Marthas (cooks and maids) in green; Econowives (the wives of lower-ranking men who handle everything in the domestic sphere) in blue, red and green stripes; young, unmarried girls in white; and widows in black.
Offred details her life starting with her third assignment as a Handmaid to a Commander. Interspersed with her narratives of her present-day experiences are flashbacks of her life before and during the beginning of the revolution, including her failed attempt to escape to Canada with her husband and child, her indoctrination into life as a Handmaid by the Aunts, and the escape of her friend Moira from the indoctrination facility. At her new home, she is treated poorly by the Commander's wife, a former Christian media personality named Serena Joy who supported women's domesticity and subordinate role well before Gilead was established. To Offred's surprise, the Commander requests to see her outside of the "Ceremony," a reproductive ritual obligatory for handmaids and intended to result in conception in the presence of his wife. The two begin an illegal relationship where they play Scrabble and Offred is allowed to ask favours of him, whether in terms of information or material items. Finally, he gives her lingerie and takes her to a covert, government-run brothel called Jezebel's. Offred unexpectedly encounters Moira there, with her will broken, and she learns that those who are found breaking the law are sent to the Colonies to clean up toxic waste or are allowed to work at Jezebel's as punishment.
In the days between her visits to the Commander, Offred also learns from her shopping partner, a woman called Ofglen, of the Mayday resistance, an underground network working to overthrow the Republic of Gilead. Not knowing of Offred's criminal acts with her husband, Serena begins to suspect that the Commander is infertile, and arranges for Offred to begin a covert sexual relationship with Nick, the Commander's personal servant. After their initial sexual encounter, Offred and Nick begin to meet on their own initiative as well, with Offred discovering that she enjoys these intimate moments despite memories of her husband, and shares potentially dangerous information about her past with him. Also, Offred tells Nick that she thinks she is pregnant.
However, Ofglen disappears (reported as a suicide), and Serena finds evidence of the relationship between Offred and the Commander, which causes Offred to contemplate suicide. Shortly afterward, men arrive at the house wearing the uniform of the secret police, the Eyes of God, known informally as "the Eyes", to take her away. As she is led to a waiting van, Nick tells her to trust him and go with the men. It is unclear whether the men are actually Eyes or members of the Mayday resistance. Offred is still unsure if Nick is a member of Mayday or an Eye posing as one, and does not know if leaving will result in her escape or her capture. Ultimately, she enters the van with her future uncertain.
The novel concludes with a metafictionalepilogue, described as a partial transcript of an international historical association conference taking place in the year 2195. The keynote speaker explains that Offred's account of the events of the novel was recorded onto cassette tapes later found and transcribed by historians studying what is then called "the Gilead Period".
Fitting with her statements that The Handmaid's Tale is a work of speculative fiction, not science fiction, Atwood's novel offers a satirical view of various social, political, and religious trends of the United States in the 1980s. Her motivation for writing the novel was her belief that in the 1980s, the religious right was discussing what they would do with/to women if they took power, including the Moral Majority, Focus on the Family, the Christian Coalition and the Ronald Reagan administration. Further, Atwood questions what would happen if these trends, and especially "casually held attitudes about women" were taken to their logical end. Atwood continues to argue that all of the scenarios offered in The Handmaid's Tale have actually occurred in real life—in an interview she gave regarding Oryx and Crake, Atwood maintains that "As with The Handmaid's Tale, I didn't put in anything that we haven't already done, we're not already doing, we're seriously trying to do, coupled with trends that are already in progress... So all of those things are real, and therefore the amount of pure invention is close to nil." Atwood was also known to carry around newspaper clippings to her various interviews to support her fiction's basis in reality. Atwood has explained that The Handmaid's Tale is a response to those who say the oppressive, totalitarian, and religious governments that have taken hold in other countries throughout the years "can't happen here"—but in this work, she has tried to show how such a takeover might play out.
Atwood was also inspired by the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1978-79 that saw a theocracy established that drastically reduced the rights of women and imposed a strict dress code on Iranian women, very much like that of Gilead. In The Handmaid's Tale, a reference is made to the Islamic Republic of Iran in the form of the history book Iran and Gilead: Two Late Twentieth Century Monotheocracies mentioned in the endnotes describing the historians' convention in 2195. Atwood's picture of a society ruled by men who professed high moral principles, but are in fact self-interested and selfish was inspired by observing Canadian politicians in action, especially in her hometown of Toronto, who frequently profess in a very sanctimonious manner to be acting from the highest principles of morality while in reality the opposite is the case. During the Second World War, Canadian women took on jobs in the place of men serving in the military that they were expected to yield to men once the war was over; after 1945, not all women wanted to return to their traditional roles as housewives and mothers, leading to a male backlash. Atwood was born in 1939, and while growing up in the 1950s she saw first-hand the complaints against women who continued to work after 1945 and of women who unhappily gave up their jobs, which she incorporated into her novel. The way in which the narrator is forced into becoming an unhappy house-wife after she loses her job in common with all the other women of Gilead was inspired by Atwood's memories of the 1950s.
Atwood's inspiration for the Republic of Gilead came from her study of early American Puritans while at Harvard, which she attended on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. Atwood argues that the modern view of the Puritans—that they came to America to flee religious persecution in England and set up a religiously tolerant society—is misleading, and that instead, these Puritan leaders wanted to establish a monolithic theonomy where religious dissent would not be tolerated. Atwood also had a personal connection to the Puritans, and she dedicates the novel to her own ancestor Mary Webster, who was accused of witchcraft in Puritan New England but survived her hanging. Due to the totalitarian nature of Gileadan society, Atwood, in creating the setting, drew from the "utopian idealism" present in 20th-century régimes, such as Cambodia and Romania, as well as earlier New England Puritanism. Atwood has argued that a coup, such as the one depicted in The Handmaid's Tale, would misuse religion in order to achieve its own ends.
Atwood, in regards to those leading Gilead, further stated:
I don't consider these people to be Christians because they do not have at the core of their behaviour and ideologies what I, in my feeble Canadian way, would consider to be the core of Christianity … and that would be not only love your neighbours but love your enemies. That would also be 'I was sick and you visited me not' and such and such …And that would include also concern for the environment, because you can't love your neighbour or even your enemy, unless you love your neighbour's oxygen, food, and water. You can't love your neighbour or your enemy if you're presuming policies that are going to cause those people to die. … Of course faith can be a force for good and often has been. So faith is a force for good particularly when people are feeling beleaguered and in need of hope. So you can have bad iterations and you can also have the iteration in which people have got too much power and then start abusing it. But that is human behaviour, so you can't lay it down to religion. You can find the same in any power situation, such as politics or ideologies that purport to be atheist. Need I mention the former Soviet Union? So it is not a question of religion making people behave badly. It is a question of human beings getting power and then wanting more of it.
In the same vein, Atwood also declared that "In the real world today, some religious groups are leading movements for the protection of vulnerable groups, including women." Atwood also draws connections between the ways in which Gilead's leaders maintain their power and other examples of actual totalitarian governments. In her interviews, Atwood offers up Afghanistan as an example of a religious theocracy forcing women out of the public sphere and into their homes, as in Gilead. The "state-sanctioned murder of dissidents" was inspired by the Philippines under President Ferdinand Marcos, and the last General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party Nicolae Ceaușescu's obsession with increasing the birth rate (Decree 770) led to the strict policing of pregnant women and the outlawing of birth control and abortion. However, Atwood clearly explains that many of these deplorable acts were not just present in other cultures and countries, "but within Western society, and within the 'Christian' tradition itself".
The Republic of Gilead struggles with infertility, making Offred's services as a Handmaid vital to producing children and thus reproducing the society. Handmaids themselves are "untouchable", but their ability to signify status is equated to that of slaves or servants throughout history. Atwood connects their concerns with infertility to real-life problems our world faces, such as radiation, chemical pollution, and venereal disease (HIV/AIDS is specifically mentioned in the "Historical Notes" section at the end of the novel, which was a relatively new disease at the time of Atwood's writing whose long-term impact was still unknown). Atwood's strong stance on environmental issues and their negative consequences for our society has presented itself in other works such as her MaddAddam trilogy, and refers back to her growing up with biologists and her own scientific curiosity.
Offred is the protagonist and narrator who takes the readers through life in Gilead. She was labeled a "wanton woman" when Gilead was established because she had married a man who was divorced. All divorces were nullified by the new government, meaning her husband was now considered still married to his first wife, making Offred an adulteress. In trying to escape Gilead, she was separated from her husband and daughter. She is part of the first generation of Gilead's women, those who remember pre-Gilead times. Proved fertile, she is considered an important commodity and has been placed as a "handmaid" in the home of "the Commander" and his wife Serena Joy, to bear a child for them (Serena Joy is believed to be infertile). Readers are able to see Offred's resistance of the Republic of Gilead on the inside through her thoughts.
Offred is a slave name that describes her function: she is "of Fred" (i.e., she belongs to Fred – presumed to be the name of the Commander – and is considered a concubine). In the novel, Offred says that she is not a concubine, but a tool; a "two-legged womb". The Handmaids' names say nothing about who the women really are; their only identity is as the Commander's property. "Offred" is also a pun on the word "offered", as in "offered as a sacrifice", and "of red" because the red dress assigned for the handmaids in Gilead.
In Atwood's original novel, Offred's real name is never revealed; however, Volker Schlöndorff's 1990 film adaptation gave Offred the real name Kate, while the television series gave her the real name June.
The women in training to be Handmaids whisper names across their beds at night. The names are "Alma. Janine. Dolores. Moira. June," and all are later accounted for except June. In addition, one of the Aunts tells the handmaids-in-training to stop "mooning and June-ing". From this and other references, some readers have inferred that her birth name could be "June". Miner suggests that "June" is a pseudonym. As "Mayday" is the name of the Gilead resistance, June could be an invention by the protagonist. The Nunavut conference covered in the epilogue takes place in June. When the Hulu TV series chose to state outright that Offred's real name is June, Atwood wrote that it was not her original intention to imply that Offred's real name is June "but it fits, so readers are welcome to it if they wish". The revelation of Offred's real name serves only to humanize her in the presence of the other Handmaids.
The Commander says that he was a scientist and was previously involved in something similar to market research before Gilead's inception. Later, it is hypothesized, but not confirmed, that he might have been one of the architects of the Republic and its laws. Presumably, his first name is "Fred", though that, too, may be a pseudonym. He engages in forbidden intellectual pursuits with Offred, such as playing Scrabble, and introduces her to a secret club that serves as a brothel for high-ranking officers. Offred learns that the Commander carried on a similar relationship with his previous handmaid, who later killed herself when his wife found out.
In the epilogue, Professor Pieixoto speculates that one of two figures, both instrumental in the establishment of Gilead, may have been the Commander, based on the name "Fred". It is his belief that the Commander was a man named Frederick R. Waterford who was killed in a purge shortly after Offred was taken away, charged with harbouring an enemy agent.
Serena Joy is a former televangelist and the Commander's wife in the fundamentalist theonomy. The state took away her power and public recognition, and tries to hide her past as a television figure. Offred identifies Serena Joy by recalling seeing her on TV when she was a little girl early on Saturday mornings while waiting for the cartoons to air. Believed to be sterile (although the suggestion is made that the Commander is sterile, Gileadean laws attribute sterility only to women), she is forced to accept that he has use of a handmaid. She resents having to take part in "The Ceremony", a monthly fertility ritual. She strikes a deal with Offred to arrange for her to have sex with Nick in order to become pregnant. According to Professor Pieixoto in the epilogue, "Serena Joy" or "Pam" are pseudonyms; the character's real name is implied to be Thelma.
Ofglen is a neighbour of Offred's and a fellow Handmaid. She is partnered with Offred to do the daily shopping. Handmaids are never alone and are expected to police each other's behaviour. Ofglen is a member of the Mayday resistance. In contrast to Offred, she is daring. She knocks out a Mayday spy who is to be tortured and killed in order to save him the pain of a violent death. Offred is told that when Ofglen vanishes, it is because she has committed suicide before the government can take her into custody due to her membership in the resistance, possibly to avoid giving away any information.
A new handmaid, also called Ofglen, takes Ofglen's place, and is assigned as Offred's shopping partner. She threatens Offred against any thought of resistance. In addition, she breaks protocol by telling her what happened to the first Ofglen.
Nick is the Commander's chauffeur, who lives above the garage. By Serena Joy's arrangement, he and Offred start a sexual relationship to increase her chance of getting pregnant. If she were unable to bear the Commander a child, she would be declared sterile and shipped to the ecological wastelands of the Colonies. Offred begins to develop feelings for him. Nick is an ambiguous character, and Offred does not know if he is a party loyalist or part of the resistance, though he identifies himself as the latter. The epilogue suggests that he really was part of the resistance, and aided Offred in escaping the Commander's house.
Moira has been a close friend of Offred's since college. In the novel, their relationship represents a female friendship that the Republic of Gilead tries to block. A lesbian, she has resisted the homophobia of Gilead society. Moira is taken to be a Handmaid soon after Offred. She escapes by stealing an Aunt's pass and clothes, but Offred later finds her working as a prostitute in a party-run brothel. She was caught and chose the brothel rather than to be sent to the Colonies. Moira exemplifies defiance against Gilead by rejecting every value that is forced onto the citizens.
Luke was Offred's husband before the formation of Gilead, having divorced his first wife to marry her. Under Gilead, all divorces were retroactively nullified, resulting in Offred being considered an adulteress and their daughter illegitimate. Offred was forced to become a Handmaid and her daughter was given to a loyalist family. Since their attempt to escape to Canada, Offred has heard nothing of Luke. She wavers between believing him dead or imprisoned.
Pieixoto is the "co-discoverer [with Professor Knotly Wade] of Offred's tapes". In his presentation at an academic conference, he talks about "the 'Problems of Authentication in Reference to The Handmaid's Tale'". Pieixoto is therefore the person who is retelling Offred's story, and so makes the narration even more unreliable than it was originally.
Aunt Lydia appears in flashbacks where her instructions frequently haunt Offred. Aunt Lydia works at the 'Red Center' where women receive instructions for a life of a Handmaid. Throughout the narrative, Aunt Lydia's pithy pronouncements on code of conduct for the Handmaids shed light on the philosophy of subjugation of women practiced in Gilead.
A servant who works at the Commander's house because she is infertile. She hopes that Offred will get pregnant as she desires to help raise a child.
The novel is set in an indeterminate dystopian future, speculated to be around the year 2005, with a fundamentalist theonomy ruling the territory of what had been the United States but is now the Republic of Gilead. The fertility rates in Gilead have diminished due to environmental toxicity and fertile females are a valuable commodity owned by the powerful elite. Individuals are segregated by categories and dressed according to their social functions. Complex dress codes play a key role in imposing social control within the new society and serve to distinguish people by sex, occupation, and caste.
The action takes place in what once was the Harvard Square neighbourhood of Cambridge, Massachusetts; Atwood studied at Radcliffe College, located in this area. As a researcher, Atwood spent a lot of time in the Widener Library at Harvard which in the novel serves as a setting for the headquarters of the Gilead Secret Service.
Bruce Miller, the executive producer of The Handmaid's Tale television serial, declared with regard to Atwood's book, as well as his series, that Gilead is "a society that’s based kind of in a perverse misreading of Old Testament laws and codes". The author explains that Gilead tries to embody the "utopian idealism" present in 20th-century regimes, as well as earlier New England Puritanism. Both Atwood and Miller stated that the people running Gilead are "not genuinely Christian". The group running Gilead, according to Atwood, is "not really interested in religion; they're interested in power." In fact, in her prayers to God, Offred reflects on Gilead and prays "I don't believe for an instant that what's going on out there is what You meant.... I suppose I should say I forgive whoever did this, and whatever they’re doing now. I’ll try, but it isn't easy." Margaret Atwood, writing on this, says that "Offred herself has a private version of the Lord's Prayer and refuses to believe that this regime has been mandated by a just and merciful God."
Christian churches that do not support the actions of the Sons of Jacob are systematically demolished, and the people living in Gilead are never seen attending church. Christian denominations, including Quakers, Baptists and Roman Catholics, are specifically named as enemies of the Sons of Jacob. Nuns who refuse conversion are considered "Unwomen" and banished to the Colonies, owing to their reluctance to marry and refusal (or inability) to bear children. Priests unwilling to convert are executed and hanged from the Wall. Atwood pits Quaker Christians against the regime by having them help the oppressed, something she feels they would do in reality: "The Quakers have gone underground, and are running an escape route to Canada, as—I suspect—they would."
Jews are named an exception and classified Sons of Jacob. Offred observes that Jews refusing to convert are allowed to emigrate from Gilead to Israel, and most choose to leave. However, in the epilogue, Professor Pieixoto reveals that many of the emigrating Jews ended up being dumped into the sea while on the ships ostensibly tasked with transporting them to Israel, due to privatization of the "repatriation program" and capitalists' effort to maximize profits. Offred mentions that many Jews who chose to stay were caught secretly practicing Judaism and executed.
- The top social level permitted to women, achieved by marriage to higher-ranking officers. Wives always wear blue dresses and cloaks, suggesting traditional depictions of the Virgin Mary in historic Christian art. When a Commander dies, his Wife becomes a Widow and must dress in black.
- The natural or adopted children of the ruling class. They wear white until marriage, which is arranged by the government. The narrator's daughter may have been adopted by an infertile Wife and Commander and she is shown in a photograph wearing a long white dress.
- Fertile women whose social function is to bear children for infertile Wives. Handmaids dress in ankle-length red dresses, white caps, and heavy boots. In summer, they change into lighter-weight (but still ankle-length) dresses and slatted shoes. When in public, in winter, they wear ankle-length red cloaks, red gloves, and heavy white bonnets, which they call "wings" because the sides stick out, blocking their peripheral vision and shielding their faces from view. Handmaids are women of proven fertility who have broken the law. The law includes both gender crimes, such as lesbianism, and religious crimes, such as adultery (redefined to include sexual relationships with divorced partners since divorce is no longer legal). The Republic of Gilead justifies the use of the handmaids for procreation by referring to two biblical stories: Genesis 30:1–13 and Genesis 16:1–4. In the first story, Jacob's infertile wife Rachel offers up her handmaid Bilhah to be a surrogate mother on her behalf, and then her sister Leah does the same with her own handmaid Zilpah (even though Leah has already given Jacob many sons). In the other story, which appears earlier in Genesis but is cited less frequently, Abraham has sex with his wife's handmaid, Hagar. Handmaids are assigned to Commanders and live in their houses. When unassigned, they live at training centers. Handmaids who successfully bear children continue to live at their commander's house until their children are weaned, at which point they are sent to a new assignment. Those who do produce children, however, will never be declared "Unwomen" or sent to the Colonies, even if they never have another baby.
- Trainers of the Handmaids. They dress in brown. Aunts promote the role of Handmaid as an honorable way for a sinful woman to redeem herself. They also police the Handmaids, beating some and ordering the maiming of others. The aunts have an unusual amount of autonomy, compared to other women of Gilead. They are the only class of women permitted to read although this is only to fulfil the administrative aspect of their role.
- They are older, infertile women who have domestic skills and are compliant, making them suitable as servants. They dress in green smocks. The title of "Martha" is based on the story of Jesus at the home of Martha and Mary (Gospel of Luke 10:38–42), where Jesus visits Mary, sister of Lazarus and Martha; Mary listens to Jesus while Martha works at "all the preparations that had to be made".
- Women married to men of lower-rank, not members of the elite. They are expected to perform all the female functions: domestic duties, companionship, and child-bearing. Their dress is multicoloured red, blue, and green to reflect these multiple roles, and is made of notably cheaper material.
The division of labour among the women generates some resentment. Marthas, Wives and Econowives perceive Handmaids as promiscuous and are taught to scorn them. Offred mourns that the women of the various groups have lost their ability to empathize with each other.
"The Ceremony" is a non-marital sexual act sanctioned for reproduction. The ritual requires the Handmaid to lie on her back between the legs of the Wife during the sex act as if they were one person. The Wife has to invite the Handmaid to share her power this way; many Wives consider this both humiliating and offensive. Offred describes the ceremony:
My red skirt is hitched up to my waist, though no higher. Below it the Commander is fucking. What he is fucking is the lower part of my body. I do not say making love, because this is not what he's doing. Copulating too would be inaccurate because it would imply two people and only one is involved. Nor does rape cover it: nothing is going on here that I haven't signed up for.
The Handmaid's Tale received critical acclaim, helping to cement Atwood's status as a prominent writer of the 20th century. Not only was the book deemed well-written and compelling, but Atwood's work was notable for sparking intense debates both in and out of academia. Atwood maintains that the Republic of Gilead is only an extrapolation of trends already seen in the United States at the time of her writing, a view supported by other scholars studying The Handmaid's Tale. Indeed, many have placed The Handmaid's Tale in the same category of dystopian fiction as Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World, with the added feature of confronting patriarchy, a categorization that Atwood has accepted and reiterated in many articles and interviews.
Even today, many reviewers hold that Atwood's novel remains as foreboding and powerful as ever, largely because of its basis in historical fact. Yet when her book was first published in 1985, not all reviewers were convinced of the "cautionary tale" Atwood presented. For example, Mary McCarthy's New York Times review argued that The Handmaid's Tale lacked the "surprised recognition" necessary for readers to see "our present selves in a distorting mirror, of what we may be turning into if current trends are allowed to continue".
The 2017 television series led to debate on whether parallels could be drawn between the series (and book) and America during the presidency of Donald Trump.
See also: Social science fiction
The Handmaid’s Tale is a feminist dystopian novel, combining the characteristics of dystopian fiction: "a genre that projects an imaginary society that differs from the author’s own, first, by being significantly worse in important respects and second by being worse because it attempts to reify some utopian ideal," with the feminist utopian ideal which: "sees men or masculine systems as the major cause of social and political problems (e.g. war), and presents women as not only at least the equals of men but also as the sole arbiters of their reproductive functions".The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction notes that dystopian images are almost invariably images of future society, "pointing fearfully at the way the world is supposedly going in order to provide urgent propaganda for a change in direction." Atwood's stated intent was indeed to dramatize potential consequences of current trends.
In 1985, reviewers hailed the book as a "feminist 1984," citing similarities between the totalitarian regimes under which both protagonists live, and "the distinctively modern sense of nightmare come true, the initial paralyzed powerlessness of the victim unable to act." Scholarly studies have expanded on the place of The Handmaid’s Tale in the dystopian and feminist traditions.
The classification of utopian and dystopian fiction as a sub-genre of the collective term, speculative fiction, alongside science fiction, fantasy, and horror is a relatively recent convention. Dystopian novels have long been discussed as a type of science fiction, however, with publication of The Handmaid's Tale, Atwood distinguished the terms science fiction and speculative fiction quite intentionally. In interviews and essays, she has discussed why, observing:
I like to make a distinction between science fiction proper and speculative fiction. For me, the science fiction label belongs on books with things in them that we can't yet do, such as going through a wormhole in space to another universe; and speculative fiction means a work that employs the means already to hand, such as DNA identification and credit cards, and that takes place on Planet Earth. But the terms are fluid.
Atwood acknowledges that others may use the terms interchangeably, but she notes her interest in this type of work is to explore themes in ways that "realistic fiction" cannot do.
Among a few science fiction aficionados, however, Atwood's comments were considered petty and contemptuous. (The term speculative fiction was indeed employed that way by certain New Wave writers in the 1960s and early 1970s to express their dissatisfaction with traditional or establishment science fiction.) Hugo-winning science fiction critic David Langford observed in a column: "The Handmaid's Tale won the very first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987. She's been trying to live this down ever since."
Atwood's novels, and especially her works of speculative fiction, The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake, are frequently offered as examples for the final, open-ended question on the North American Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition exam each year. As such, her books are often assigned in high-school classrooms to students taking this Advanced Placement course, despite the mature themes the work presents. Atwood herself has expressed surprise that her books are being assigned to high-school audiences, largely due to her own censored education in the 1950s, but she has assured readers that this increased attention from high-school students has not altered the material she has chosen to write about since.
Many people have expressed discontent at The Handmaid's Tale's presence in the classroom. Some of these challenges have come from parents concerned about the explicit sexuality and other adult themes represented in the book. Others have argued that The Handmaid's Tale depicts a negative view of religion, a view supported by several academics who propose that Atwood's work satirizes contemporary religious fundamentalists in the United States, offering a feminist critique of the trends this movement to the Right represents.
The American Library Association (ALA) lists The Handmaid's Tale as number 37 on the "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000". In 2019, The Handmaid's Tale is still listed as the seventh-most challenged book because of profanity, vulgarity, and sexual overtones. Atwood participated in discussing The Handmaid's Tale as the subject of an ALA discussion series titled "One Book, One Conference".
Some challenges include,
- a 2009 parent in Toronto alleged the book of being anti-Christian and anti-Islamic because the women are veiled and polygamy is allowed. Rushowy reports that "The Canadian Library Association says there is 'no known instance of a challenge to this novel in Canada' but says the book was called anti-Christian and pornographic by parents after being placed on a reading list for secondary students in Texas in the 1990s."
- a 2012 challenge as required reading for a Page High School International Baccalaureate class and as optional reading for Advanced Placement reading courses at Grimsley High School in Greensboro, North Carolina because the book is "sexually explicit, violently graphic and morally corrupt". Some parents thought the book is “detrimental to Christian values".
- November 2012, two parents protested against the inclusion of the book on a required reading list in Guilford County, North Carolina. The parents presented the school board with a petition signed by 2,300 people, prompting a review of the book by the school's media advisory committee. According to local news reports, one of the parents said "she felt Christian students are bullied in society, in that they're made to feel uncomfortable about their beliefs by non-believers. She said including books like The Handmaid's Tale contributes to that discomfort, because of its negative view on religion and its anti-biblical attitudes toward sex."
In higher education
In institutions of higher education, professors have found The Handmaid's Tale to be useful, largely because of its historical and religious basis and Atwood's captivating delivery. The novel's teaching points include: introducing politics and the social sciences to students in a more concrete way; demonstrating the importance of reading to our freedom, both intellectual and political; and acknowledging the "most insidious and violent manifestations of power in Western history" in a compelling manner. The chapter entitled "Historical Notes" at the end of the novel also represents a warning to academics who run the risk of misreading and misunderstanding historical texts, pointing to the satirized Professor Pieixoto as an example of a male scholar who has taken over and overpowered Offred's narrative with his own interpretation.
Much of the discussion about The Handmaid's Tale has centered on its categorization as feminist literature. Atwood does not see the Republic of Gilead as a purely feminist dystopia, as not all men have greater rights than women. Instead, this society presents a typical dictatorship: "shaped like a pyramid, with the powerful of both sexes at the apex, the men generally outranking the women at the same level; then descending levels of power and status with men and women in each, all the way down to the bottom, where the unmarried men must serve in the ranks before being awarded an Econowife". Econowives are women married to men that don't belong to the elite and who are expected to carry out child-bearing, domestic duties, and traditional companionship. When asked about whether her book was feminist, Atwood stated that the presence of women and what happens to them are important to the structure and theme of the book. This aisle of feminism, by default, would make a lot of books feminist. However, she was adamant in her stance that her book did not represent the brand of feminism that victimizes or strips women of moral choice. Additionally, Atwood has argued that while some of the observations that informed the content of The Handmaid's Tale may be feminist, her novel is not meant to say "one thing to one person" or serve as a political message—instead, The Handmaid's Tale is "a study of power, and how it operates and how it deforms or shapes the people who are living within that kind of regime".
Some scholars have offered such a feminist interpretation, however, connecting Atwood's use of religious fundamentalism in the pages of The Handmaid's Tale to a condemnation of their presence in current American society. Atwood goes on to describe her book as not a critique of religion, but a critique of the use of religion as a "front for tyranny." Yet others have argued that The Handmaid's Tale critiques typical notions of feminism, as Atwood's novel appears to subvert the traditional "women helping women" ideals of the movement and turn toward the possibility of "the matriarchal network ... and a new form of misogyny: women's hatred of women". Scholars have analyzed and made connections to patriarchal oppression in The Handmaid's Tale and oppression of women today. Aisha Matthews tackles the effects of institutional structures that oppress woman and womanhood and connects those to the themes present in The Handmaid's Tale. She first asserts that structures and social frameworks, such as the patriarchy and societal role of traditional Christian values, are inherently detrimental to the liberation of womanhood. She then makes the connection to the relationship between Offred, Serena Joy, and their Commander, explaining that through this "perversion of traditional marriage, the Biblical story of Rachel, Jacob, and Bilhah is taken too literally." Their relationship and other similar relationships in The Handmaid's Tale mirror the effects of patriarchal standards of womanliness.
- Sex and occupation
In the world of The Handmaid's Tale, the sexes are strictly divided. Gilead's society values white women's reproductive commodities over those of other ethnicities. Women are categorized "hierarchically according to class status and reproductive capacity" as well as "metonymically colour-coded according to their function and their labour" (Kauffman 232). The Commander expresses his personal opinion that women are considered inferior to men, as the men are in a position where they have power to control society.
Women are segregated by clothing, as are men. With rare exception, men wear military or paramilitary uniforms. All classes of men and women are defined by the colours they wear, drawing on colour symbolism and psychology. All lower-status individuals are regulated by this dress code. All "non-persons" are banished to the "Colonies". Sterile, unmarried women are considered to be non-persons. Both men and women sent there wear grey dresses.
The women, particularly the handmaids, are stripped of their individual identities as they lack formal names, taking on their assigned commander's first name in most cases.
Sterile women, the unmarried, some widows, feminists, lesbians, nuns, and politically dissident women: all women who are incapable of social integration within the Republic's strict gender divisions. Gilead exiles Unwomen to "the Colonies", areas both of agricultural production and deadly pollution. Joining them are handmaids who fail to bear a child after three two-year assignments.
Jezebels are women who are forced to become prostitutes and entertainers. They are available only to the Commanders and to their guests. Offred portrays Jezebels as attractive and educated; they may be unsuitable as handmaids due to temperament. They have been sterilized, a surgery that is forbidden to other women. They operate in unofficial but state-sanctioned brothels, unknown to most women. Jezebels, whose title also comes from Jezebel in the Bible, dress in the remnants of sexualized costumes from "the time before", such as cheerleaders' costumes, school uniforms, and Playboy Bunny costumes. Jezebels can wear make-up, drink alcohol and socialize with men, but are tightly controlled by the Aunts. When they pass their sexual prime or their looks fade, they are discarded without any precision as to whether they are killed or sent to the Colonies in the novel.
African Americans, the main non-white ethnic group in this society, are called the Children of Ham. A state TV broadcast mentions they have been relocated "en masse" to "National Homelands" in the Midwest, which are suggestive of the apartheid-era homelands (Bantustans) set up by South Africa. Ana Cottle characterized The Handmaid's Tale as "white feminism", noting that Atwood does away with black people in a few lines by relocating the "Children of Ham" while borrowing heavily from the African-American experience and applying it to white women. It is implied that Native Americans living in territories under the rule of Gilead are exterminated. Jews are given a choice between converting to the state religion or being "repatriated" to Israel. However, converts who were subsequently discovered with any symbolic representations or artifacts of Judaism were executed, and the repatriation scheme was privatized.
In other media
- An audiobook of the unabridged text, read by Claire Danes (ISBN 9781491519110), won the 2013 Audie Award for fiction.
- In 2014, Canadian band Lakes of Canada released their album Transgressions, which is intended to be a concept album inspired by The Handmaid's Tale.
- On his album Shady Lights from 2017, Snax references the novel and film adaption, specifically the character of Serena Joy, in the song "Make Me Disappear". The first verse reads, "You can call me Serena Joy. Drink in hand, in front of the TV, I'm teary-eyed, adjusting my CC."
- A full cast audiobook entitled The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition was released in 2017, read by Claire Danes, Margaret Atwood, Tim Gerard Reynolds, and others. 
- An audiobook of the unabridged text, read by Betty Harris, was released in 2019 by Recorded Books, Inc. 
Main article: The Handmaid's Tale (film)
- A dramatic adaptation of the novel for radio was produced for BBC Radio 4 by John Dryden in 2000.
- In 2002 CBC Radio commissioned Michael O’Brien to adapt Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid's Tale for radio
- A stage adaptation written and directed by Bruce Shapiro played at Tufts University in 1989.
- An operatic adaptation, The Handmaid's Tale, by Poul Ruders, premiered in Copenhagen on 6 March 2000, and was performed by the English National Opera, in London, in 2003. It was the opening production of the 2004–2005 season of the Canadian Opera Company.Boston Lyric Opera mounted a production in May 2019.
- A stage adaptation of the novel, by Brendon Burns, for the Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke, England, toured the UK in 2002.
- A ballet adaptation choreographed by Lila York and produced by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet premiered on 16 October 2013. Amanda Green appeared as Offred and Alexander Gamayunov as The Commander.
- A one-woman stage show, adapted from the novel, by Joseph Stollenwerk premiered in the U.S. in January 2015.
Main article: The Handmaid's Tale (TV series)
- Hulu has produced a television series based on the novel, starring Elisabeth Moss as Offred. The first three episodes were released on 26 April 2017, with subsequent episodes following on a weekly basis. Margaret Atwood served as consulting producer. The series won eight Primetime Emmy Awards in 2017, including Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (Moss). The series was renewed for a second season, which premiered on 25 April 2018, and in May 2018, Hulu announced renewal for a third season. Third season premiered on 5 June 2019. Hulu announced season 4, which were to consist of 10 episodes, and it was to start production in March 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Season 4 premiered on April 28, 2021.
Main article: The Testaments
In November 2018, Atwood announced the sequel, titled The Testaments, which was published in September 2019. The novel is set fifteen years after Offred's final scene, with the testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.
- ^The Handmaid's Tale is the inaugural winner of this award for the best science fiction novel published in the United Kingdom during the previous year.
- ^ The Prometheus Award is an award for libertarian science fiction novels given out annually by the Libertarian Futurist Society, which also publishes a quarterly journal, Prometheus.
- ^Cosstick, Ruth (January 1986). "Book review: The Handmaids Tale". Canadian Review of Materials. Vol. 14 no. 1. CM Archive. Retrieved 26 June 2016.
- ^Brown, Sarah (15 April 2008). Tragedy in Transition. p. 45. ISBN .
- ^Taylor, Kevin (21 September 2018). Christ the Tragedy of God: A Theological Exploration of Tragedy. ISBN .
- ^Kendrick, Tom (2003). Margaret Atwood's Textual Assassinations: Recent Poetry and Fiction. p. 148. ISBN .
- ^Stray, Christopher (16 October 2013). Remaking the Classics: Literature, Genre and Media in Britain 1800-2000. p. 78. ISBN .
- ^"The Handmaid's Tale Study Guide: About Speculative Fiction". Gradesaver. 22 May 2009.
- ^ abIsomaa, Saija; Korpua, Jyrki; Teittinen, Jouni (27 August 2020). New Perspectives on Dystopian Fiction in Literature and Other Media. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 70. ISBN .
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- ^ abNeuman, Sally (Summer 2006). "Just a Backlash': Margaret Atwood, Feminism, and The Handmaid's Tale". University of Toronto Quarterly. 75 (3): 857–868.
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- ^ abcAtwood, Margaret (May 2004). "The Handmaid's Tale and Oryx and Crake "In Context"". PMLA. 119 (3): 513–517. doi:10.1632/003081204X20578. S2CID 162973994.
- ^Croteau, David A. (1 February 2010). You Mean I Don't Have to Tithe?: A Deconstruction of Tithing and a Reconstruction of Post-Tithe Giving. Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 152. ISBN .
- ^ abRobertson, Adi (20 December 2014). "Does The Handmaid's Tale hold up?". The Verge. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
- ^ abcdefgAtwood, Margaret (20 January 2012). "Haunted by the Handmaid's Tale". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 March 2016.
- ^ abNewman, Charlotte (25 September 2010). "The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 March 2016.
- ^ abcWilliams, Layton E. (25 April 2017). "Margaret Atwood on Christianity, 'The Handmaid's Tale,' and What Faithful Activism Looks Like Today". Sojourners. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
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- ^ ab"The Handmaid's Tale Study Guide: Character List". Gradesaver. 22 May 2009.
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- ^Getz, Dana (26 April 2017). "Offred's Real Name In 'The Handmaid's Tale' Is The Only Piece Of Power She Still Holds". Bustle.
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- ^ abcdO'Hare, Kate (16 April 2017). "'The Handmaid's Tale' on Hulu: What Should Catholics Think?". Faith & Family Media Blog. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
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- ^Armbruster, Jane (Fall 1990). "Memory and Politics – A Reflection on "The Handmaid's Tale"". Social Justice. 3 (41): 146–152. JSTOR 29766564.
- ^For articles that attempt to draw parallels between The Handmaid's Tale and Trump's election as President, see: For articles that dispute such parallels, see:
- ^Hill, Melissa Sue; Lee, Michelle, eds. (2019). "Themes and Construction: The Handmaid's Tale". Novels for Students. 60. Gale. Gale H1430008961.
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- ^Rushowy 2009b: "Committee to consider objection to book; concern may centre on sexuality, religion." harvnb error: no target: CITEREFRushowy2009b (help)
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Story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual
A tall tale is a story with unbelievable elements, related as if it were true and factual. Some tall tales are exaggerations of actual events, for example fish stories ("the fish that got away") such as, "That fish was so big, why I tell ya', it nearly sank the boat when I pulled it in!" Other tall tales are completely fictional tales set in a familiar setting, such as the Europeancountryside, the American frontier, the Canadian Northwest, the Australian frontier, or the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.
Events are often told in a way that makes the narrator seem to have been a part of the story; the tone is generally good-natured. Legends are differentiated from tall tales primarily by age; many legends exaggerate the exploits of their heroes, but in tall tales the exaggeration looms large, to the extent of dominating the story.
The tall tale is a fundamental element of American folk literature. The tall tale's origins are seen in the bragging contests that often occurred when the rough men of the American frontier gathered. The tales of legendary figures of the Old West, some listed below, owe much to the style of tall tales.
The semi-annual speech contests held by Toastmasters International public speaking clubs may include a tall tales contest. Each and every participating speaker is given three to five minutes to give a short speech of a tall tale nature, and is then judged according to several factors. The winner proceeds to the next level of competition. The contest does not proceed beyond any participating district in the organization to the international level.
The comic stripNon Sequitur sometimes features tall tales told by the character Captain Eddie; it is left up to the reader to decide if he is telling the truth, exaggerating a real event, or just telling a whopper.
About real people
Some stories are told about exaggerated versions of real people:
- Johnny Appleseed – A friendly folk hero who traveled the West planting apple trees because he felt his guardian angel told him to
- Johnny Blood – An American football player whose reputation for wild behavior was as well known as his on-field play
- Jim Bowie – A Kentuckian frontiersman, Texas Ranger, and land speculator who fought for the Texan cause in the Battle of the Alamo. He is known for the Bowie knife which he used to disembowel his opponent.
- Daniel Boone – Blazed a trail across Cumberland Gap to found the first English-speaking colonies west of the Appalachian Mountains
- Aylett C. "Strap" Buckner – An Indian fighter of colonial Texas
- Davy Crockett – A pioneer and U.S. Congressman from Tennessee who later died at the Battle of the Alamo
- Mike Fink – The toughest boatman on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and a rival of Davy Crockett. Also known as the King of the Mississippi River Keelboatmen
- Peter Francisco – American Revolutionary War hero.
- John Henry – A mighty steel-driving African American
- Calamity Jane – A tough Wild West woman
- Jigger Johnson (1871-1935), a lumberjack and log driver from Maine who is known for his numerous off-the-job exploits, such as catching bobcats alive with his bare hands, and drunken brawls
- Casey Jones – A brave and gritty railroad engineer
- Nat Love, also known as "Deadwood Dick", was born a slave in Tennessee in 1854. Tales of his adventures after emancipation, as a cowboy and as a Pullman porter, gained such fantastical elements as to be considered tall tales
- Sam Patch – An early 19th-century daredevil who died during a jump on Friday the 13th
- Molly Pitcher – A heroine of the American Revolutionary War
- Blackbeard had various tall tales surrounding his involvement with piracy from 1717-1718.
About imaginary people
Subjects of some American tall tales include legendary figures:
The Australian frontier (known as the bush or the outback) similarly inspired the types of tall tales that are found in American folklore. The Australian versions typically concern a mythical station called The Speewah. The heroes of the Speewah include:
- Rodney Ansell
- Big Bill – The dumbest man on the Speewah who made his living cutting up mining shafts and selling them for post holes
- Crooked Mick – A champion shearer who had colossal strength and quick wit.
Another folk hero is Charlie McKeahnie, the hero of Banjo Paterson's poem "The Man from Snowy River", whose bravery, adaptability, and risk-taking could epitomise the new Australian spirit.
The Canadian frontier has also inspired the types of tall tales that are found in American folklore, such as:
Some European tall tales include:
- Toell the Great was one of the great tall tales of Estonia.
- The Babin Republic, in Renaissance Poland (1568) was a satirical society dedicated entirely to mocking people and telling tall tales.
- Juho Nätti (1890–1964), known as Nätti-Jussi, was a Finnish lumberjack known for telling tall tales; his stories have also circulated as folk tales and been collected in books.
- The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel (16th Century) by the French writer Rabelais told the tale of two giants; father and son.
- The many farfetched adventures of the fictional German nobleman Baron Munchausen, some of which may have had a folklore basis.
- Legends of the Irish mythological hunter-warrior Fionn mac Cumhaill, also known as Finn MacCool, have it that he built the Giant's Causeway as stepping-stones to Scotland, so as not to get his feet wet, and that he also once scooped up part of Ireland to fling it at a rival, but it missed and landed in the Irish Sea; the clump became the Isle of Man, the pebble became Rockall, and the void became Lough Neagh.
- Laughter and Grief by the White Sea, a Soviet film, depicts tall tales of the Pomors. A Pomor elder describes several stories, including a brown bear coating himself in baking soda to be acceptable to humans as a polar bear.
- The Cumbrian Liars, a United Kingdom association who follow in the seven-league footsteps of Will Ritson.
- The Irish Rover is a well-known Irish folk song about an implausibly large sailing ship with a fanciful cargo.
In visual media
Main article: Exaggeration Postcards
Early 20th century postcards became a vehicle for tall tale telling in the US. Creators of these cards, such as the prolific Alfred Stanley Johnson Jr., and William H. "Dad" Martin, usually employed trick photography, including forced perspective, while others painted their unlikely tableaus, or used a combination of painting and photography in early examples of photo retouching. The common theme was gigantism: fishing for leviathans, hunting for or riding oversized animals, and bringing in the impossibly huge sheaves. An homage to the genre can be found on the cover of the Eat a Peach (1972) album by The Allman Brothers Band.
- ^"Buckner, Aylett C."Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
- ^Appalachia Appalachian Mountain Club, 1964.
- ^Monahan, Robert. "Jigger Johnson", New Hampshire Profiles magazine, Northeast Publications, Concord, New Hampshire, April, 1957.
- ^"Cumbrian Liars". grizedale.org.
- ^"Larger Than Life: Tall-Tale Postcards". Wisconsin Historical Society.
- ^ abcde"Storytelling Through the Mail: Tall Tale Postcards in Michigan". Michigan History Online. Archived from the original on 2009-07-08.
- ^"Wisconsin historical images, Keywords: "tall tale", Alfred Stanley Johnson, Jr". Wisconsin Historical Society.
- ^"Tall-tale Postcard: Mammoth Strawberries". Wisconsin Historical Society.
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- ^"Wisconsin historical images, Keyword "hunting"". Wisconsin Historical Society.
- Brown, Carolyn. (1989). The Tall Tale in American Folklore and Literature. Knoxville, Tennessee: University of Tennessee Press. ISBN 0-87049-627-1.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tall tales.|
2018 film by Jennifer Fox
This article is about the 2018 film. For other uses, see tale (disambiguation).
The Tale is a 2018 American drama film written and directed by Jennifer Fox and starring Laura Dern, Ellen Burstyn, Jason Ritter, Elizabeth Debicki, Isabelle Nélisse, Common, Frances Conroy, and John Heard. It tells the story about Fox's own childhood sexual abuse and her coming to terms with it in her later life. It premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and aired on HBO on May 26, 2018.
Jennifer Fox is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker and professor in her 40s when her mother, Nettie, calls her in alarm after discovering an essay she wrote when she was 13. The essay is about a "relationship" Jennifer had when she was 13 and which she dismisses as something she hid from her mother at the time to not upset her, because her boyfriend was "older".
After re-reading the essay Jennifer begins to do research on that period in her life. She imagines herself as being older and sophisticated but is surprised at how small and childlike she appears in photos from that time. Jennifer's relationship began one summer when she went to an intensive horse training camp with three other girls. She lived with the beautiful and enigmatic Mrs. G, who also had Jenny and the girls run with professional coach Bill Allens, who was in his 40s. After the summer ends Mrs. G and Bill reveal to Jenny they are lovers.
After the camp, Jenny kept her horse with Mrs. G and continued to see her and Bill on the weekends. Eventually Jenny began spending time with Bill alone. He began sexually grooming her, until finally raping her, telling her that they were "making love".
When Jennifer's partner finds letters written to her by Bill, he says that she was raped, but she refuses to see it that way, proclaiming that she is not a victim. However she slowly begins to question whether her recollections are accurate and eventually realizes despite her protests she had been exhibiting symptoms of being sexually abused for years. She goes to visit Mrs. G, who refuses to acknowledge her role in Jenny's abuse and asks her to leave.
As Jennifer continues to investigate that summer, she realizes that Bill and Mrs. G were probably grooming other girls. She remembers a college student named Iris Rose who worked for Mrs. G. Jennifer tracks Iris Rose down who tells her that she, Mrs. G and Bill had threesomes and that Mrs. G was actively involved in finding girls for Bill. This prompts Jennifer to remember that she was supposed to participate in group sex with Mrs. G, Bill and Iris one weekend. However Jenny, who threw up each time she was raped by Bill, had an anxiety attack and threw up the day before she was due to go away for the weekend, causing her mother to keep her at home. Realizing she no longer wanted to be in a relationship with Bill, Jenny called him and broke up with him, even as he pleaded with her to stay. Unlike Bill, Mrs. G coldly accepted Jenny's decision to remove her horse that weekend. Jenny wrote about her time with Bill in an essay for school (calling it a work of fiction) in which she proclaimed herself a hero, not a victim; this is the essay her mother finds at the beginning of the film.
Jennifer goes to an awards ceremony where Bill is being honored to confront him, spelling out the abuse in front of his wife and the other attendees. Bill denies everything and leaves. Jennifer has a panic attack and goes to the bathroom, and imagines sitting with her 13-year-old self.
On May 5, 2015, it was reported that Laura Dern, Ellen Burstyn, Elizabeth Debicki, and Sebastian Koch would star in The Tale, written and directed by Jennifer Fox. It was set to begin principal photography that summer. On May 14, 2016, it was reported that the film was being shopped to foreign buyers at the Cannes Film Festival, and Common, Jason Ritter, Frances Conroy, and John Heard were announced as also being part of the cast. Filming began in Louisiana on October 20, 2015, and wrapped in December.
In January 2018, HBO Films acquired distribution rights to the film. It premiered on HBO on May 26, 2018.
The Tale was met with critical acclaim. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 99% based on 71 reviews, with an average rating of 9/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "The Tale handles its extraordinarily challenging subject matter with sensitivity, grace, and the power of some standout performances led by a remarkable Laura Dern." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 90 out of 100, based on 26 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".
- ^Debruge, Peter (November 29, 2017). "Sundance Film Festival Unveils Full 2018 Features Lineup". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- ^"The Tale". Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- ^ abNolfi, Joey (April 9, 2018). "Laura Dern sexual abuse drama The Tale gets HBO premiere date". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 9, 2018.
- ^Tartaglione, Nancy (May 5, 2015). "Mongrel Boards Laura Dern-Starrer 'The Tale'; Camera d'Or Jury Set – Cannes Briefs". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- ^Siegel, Tatiana (May 14, 2016). "Cannes: Laura Dern, Ellen Burstyn, Common Head Up Cast for Jennifer Fox's 'The Tale' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
- ^"Germany's One Two Films to co-produce Laura Dern-starrer 'The Tale'".
- ^Galuppo, Mia; Lee, Ashley (January 26, 2018). "Sundance: Laura Dern Drama 'The Tale' Nabbed by HBO Films". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
- ^"The Tale (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
- ^"The Tale Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 18, 2018.
- ^"Emmys.com list of 2018 Nominees & Winners". Retrieved July 14, 2018.
- ^Warren, Matt (16 November 2018). "These Are Your 2019 Film Independent Spirit Award Nominees!". Filmindependent.org. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
- ^"Golden Globe Awards for 'Tale, The'". Retrieved January 6, 2019.
- ^"2018 Awards Nominees". International Press Academy. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
This article is about the folk tale. For other uses, see Cinderella (disambiguation).
"Cinderella", or "The Little Glass Slipper", is a folk tale with thousands of variants throughout the world. The protagonist is a young woman living in forsaken circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune, with her ascension to the throne via marriage. The story of Rhodopis, recounted by the Greek geographer Strabo sometime between around 7 BC and AD 23, about a Greek slave girl who marries the king of Egypt, is usually considered to be the earliest known variant of the Cinderella story.
The first literary European version of the story was published in Italy by Giambattista Basile in his Pentamerone in 1634; the version that is now most widely known in the English-speaking world was published in French by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé in 1697. Another version was later published by the Brothers Grimm in their folk tale collection Grimms' Fairy Tales in 1812.
Although the story's title and main character's name change in different languages, in English-language folklore Cinderella is an archetypal name. The word Cinderella has, by analogy, come to mean one whose attributes were unrecognized: one who unexpectedly achieves recognition or success after a period of obscurity and neglect. The still-popular story of Cinderella continues to influence popular culture internationally, lending plot elements, allusions, and tropes to a wide variety of media. The Aarne–Thompson–Uther system classifies Cinderella as Tale Type 510A, Persecuted Heroine.: 24–26
Main article: Rhodopis
The oldest known oral version of the Cinderella story is the ancient Greek story of Rhodopis, a Greekcourtesan living in the colony of Naucratis in Egypt, whose name means "Rosy-Cheeks". The story is first recorded by the Greek geographer Strabo in his Geographica (book 17, 33): "When she was bathing, an eagle snatched one of her sandals from her maid and carried it to Memphis; and while the king was administering justice in the open air, the eagle, when it arrived above his head, flung the sandal into his lap; and the king, stirred both by the beautiful shape of the sandal and by the strangeness of the occurrence, sent men in all directions into the country in quest of the woman who wore the sandal; and when she was found in the city of Naucratis, she was brought up to Memphis, and became the wife of the king."
The same story is also later reported by the Roman orator Aelian (c. 175–c. 235) in his Miscellaneous History, which was written entirely in Greek. Aelian's story closely resembles the story told by Strabo, but adds that the name of the pharaoh in question was Psammetichus.[a] Aelian's account indicates that the story of Rhodopis remained popular throughout antiquity.
Herodotus, some five centuries before Strabo, records a popular legend about a possibly related courtesan named Rhodopis in his Histories,: 27 claiming that she came from Thrace, was the slave of Iadmon of Samos and a fellow-slave of the story-teller Aesop, was taken to Egypt in the time of PharaohAmasis, and freed there for a large sum by Charaxus of Mytilene, brother of Sappho the lyric poet.: 27–28 
The resemblance of the shoe-testing of Rhodopis with Cinderella's slipper has already been noted in the 19th century, by Edgar Taylor and Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould.
Aspasia of Phocaea
A second predecessor for the Cinderella character, hailing from late Antiquity, may be Aspasia of Phocaea. Her story is told in Aelian's Varia Storia: orphaned in early childhood and raised by her father, Aspasia, despite living in poverty, has dreamt of meeting a noble man. As she dozes off, the girl has a vision of a dove transforming into a woman, who instructs her on how to remove a physical imperfection and restore her own beauty. In another episode, she and other courtesans are made to attend a feast hosted by Persian regent Cyrus the Younger. During the banquet, the Persian King sets his sights on Aspasia herself and ignores the other women.
The twelfth-century AD lai of Le Fresne ("The Ash-Tree Girl"), retold by Marie de France, is a variant of the "Cinderella" story: 41 in which a wealthy noblewoman abandons her infant daughter at the base of an ash tree outside a nunnery with a ring and brocade as tokens of her identity: 41 because she is one of twin sisters: 41 —the mother fears that she will be accused of infidelity: 41 (according to popular belief, twins were evidence of two different fathers). The infant is discovered by the porter, who names her Fresne, meaning "Ash Tree",: 41 and she is raised by the nuns.: 41 After she has attained maturity, a young nobleman sees her and becomes her lover.: 41 The nobleman, however, is forced to marry a woman of noble birth.: 41 Fresne accepts that she will never marry her beloved: 41 but waits in the wedding chamber as a handmaiden.: 41 She covers the bed with her own brocade: 41 but, unbeknownst to her, her beloved's bride is actually her twin sister,: 41 and her mother recognizes the brocade as the same one she had given to the daughter she had abandoned so many years before.: 41 Fresne's true parentage is revealed: 41 and, as a result of her noble birth, she is allowed to marry her beloved,: 41 while her twin sister is married to a different nobleman.: 41
Ċiklemfusa from Malta
The Maltese Cinderella is named Ċiklemfusa. She is portrayed as an orphaned child in her early childhood. Before his death, her father gave her three magical objects: a chestnut, a nut and an almond. She used to work as a servant in the King's palace. Nobody ever took notice of the poor girl. One day she heard of a big ball and with the help of a magical spell turned herself into a beautiful princess. The prince fell in love with her and gave her a ring. On the following night the Prince gave her a diamond and on the third night he gave her a ring with a large gem on it. By the end of the ball Ċiklemfusa would run away hiding herself in the cellars of the Palace. She knew that the Prince was very sad about her disappearance so one day she made some krustini (typical Maltese biscuits) for him and hid the three gifts in each of them. When the Prince ate the biscuits he found the gifts he had given to the mysterious Princess and soon realized the huge mistake he had made of ignoring Ċiklemfusa because of her poor looks. They soon made marriage arrangements and she became his wife.
A version of the story, Ye Xian, appeared in Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang written by Duan Chengshi around 860. In this version, Ye Xian is the daughter of the local tribal leader who died when she was young. Because her mother died before her father, she is now under the care of her father's second wife, who abused her. She befriends a fish, which is the reincarnation of her deceased mother. Her stepmother and half-sister kill the fish, but Ye Xian finds the bones, which are magical, and they help her dress appropriately for a local Festival, including a very light golden shoe. Her stepfamily recognizes her at the festival, causing her to flee and accidentally lose the shoe. Afterwards, the king of another sea island obtains the shoe and is curious about it as no one has feet that can fit the shoe. The King searches everywhere and finally reaches Ye's house, where she tries on the shoe. The king realises she is the one and takes her back to his kingdom. Her cruel stepmother and half-sister are killed by flying rocks. Variants of the story are also found in many ethnic groups in China.
One Thousand and One Nights
Several different variants of the story appear in the medieval One Thousand and One Nights, also known as the Arabian Nights, including "The Second Shaykh's Story", "The Eldest Lady's Tale" and "Abdallah ibn Fadil and His Brothers", all dealing with the theme of a younger sibling harassed by two jealous elders. In some of these, the siblings are female, while in others, they are male. One of the tales, "Judar and His Brethren", departs from the happy endings of previous variants and reworks the plot to give it a tragic ending instead, with the younger brother being poisoned by his elder brothers.
Tam and Cam
The Story of Tam and Cam, from Vietnam, is similar to the Chinese version. The heroine Tấm also had a fish which was killed by the stepmother and the half-sister, and its bones also give her clothes. Later after marrying the king, Tấm was killed by her stepmother and sister, and reincarnated several times in form of a bird, a loom and a "gold apple". She finally reunited with the king and lived happily ever after.
Other Asian versions
There exists a Cambodian version (called "Khmer" by the collectors) with the name Néang Kantoc. Its collectors compared it to the Vietnamese story of Tam and Cam.
Another version was collected from the Cham people of Southeast Asia, with the name La Sandale d'Or ("The Golden Sandal") or Conte de demoiselles Hulek et Kjong ("The tale of the ladies Hulek and Kjong").
20th century folktale collector Kenichi Mizusawa published an analysis of Japanese variants of Cinderella, separating them into two types: "Nukabuku, Komebuku" (about rival step-sisters) and "Ubagawa" (about the heroine's disguise).
The first European version written in prose was published in Naples, Italy, by Giambattista Basile, in his Pentamerone (1634). The story itself was set in the Kingdom of Naples, at that time the most important political and cultural center of Southern Italy and among the most influential capitals in Europe, and written in the Neapolitan dialect. It was later retold, along with other Basile tales, by Charles Perrault in Histoires ou contes du temps passé (1697), and by the Brothers Grimm in their folk tale collection Grimms' Fairy Tales (1812).
The name "Cenerentola" comes from the Italian word "cenere" (ash, cinder). It has to do with the fact that servants and scullions were usually soiled with ash at that time, because of their cleaning work and also because they had to live in cold basements so they usually tried to get warm by sitting close to the fireplace.
Cenerentola, by Basile
Giambattista Basile, an Italian soldier and government official, assembled a set of oral folk tales into a written collection titled Lo cunto de li cunti (The Story of Stories), or Pentamerone. It included the tale of Cenerentola, which features a wicked stepmother and evil stepsisters, magical transformations, a missing slipper, and a hunt by a monarch for the owner of the slipper. It was published posthumously in 1634.
- A prince has a daughter, Zezolla (tonnie) (the Cinderella figure), who is tended by a beloved governess. The governess, with Zezolla's help, persuades the prince to marry her. The governess then brings forward six daughters of her own, who abuse Zezolla (tonnie), and send her into the kitchen to work as a servant. The prince goes to the island of Sinia, meets a fairy who gives presents to his daughter, and brings back for her: a golden spade, a golden bucket, a silken napkin, and a date seedling. The girl cultivates the tree, and when the king hosts a ball, Zezolla appears dressed richly by a fairy living in the date tree. The king falls in love with her, but Zezolla runs away before he can find out who she is. Twice Zezolla escapes the king and his servants. The third time, the king's servant captures one of her slippers. The king invites all of the maidens in the land to a ball with a shoe-test, identifies Zezolla (tonnie) after the shoe jumps from his hand to her foot, and eventually marries her.
Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de verre, by Perrault
One of the most popular versions of Cinderella was written in French by Charles Perrault in 1697, under the name Cendrillon ou la petite pantoufle de verre. The popularity of his tale was due to his additions to the story, including the pumpkin, the fairy-godmother and the introduction of "glass" slippers.
- A wealthy widower has a beautiful young daughter, a girl of unparalleled kindness and sweet temper. The gentleman marries a proud and haughty woman as his second wife. She has two daughters, who are equally vain and selfish. The girl is forced into servitude by her stepmother, where she is made to work day and night doing menial chores. After the girl's chores are done for the day, she curls up near the fireplace in an effort to stay warm. She often arises covered in ashes, giving rise to the mocking nickname "Cendrillon" (Cinderella) by her stepsisters. Cinderella bears the abuse patiently and does not tell her father, who would have scolded her.
- One day, the prince invites all the young ladies in the land to a royal ball, planning to choose a wife. The two stepsisters gleefully plan their wardrobes for the ball, and taunt Cinderella by telling her that maids aren't invited to the ball.
- As the two stepsisters and the stepmother depart to the ball, Cinderella cries in despair. Her Fairy godmother magically appears and immediately begins to transform Cinderella from house servant to the young lady she was by birth, all in the effort to get Cinderella to the ball. She turns a pumpkin into a golden carriage, mice into horses, a rat into a coachman, and lizards into footmen. She then turns Cinderella's rags into a beautiful jeweled gown, complete with a delicate pair of glass slippers. The Fairy Godmother tells her to enjoy the ball, but warns her that she must return before midnight, when the spells will be broken.
- At the ball, the entire court is entranced by Cinderella, especially the Prince. At this first ball, Cinderella remembers to leave before midnight. Back home, Cinderella graciously thanks her Fairy Godmother. She then innocently greets the two stepsisters, who had not recognized her earlier, and talk of nothing but the beautiful girl at the ball.
- Another ball is held the next evening, and Cinderella again attends with her Fairy Godmother's help. The prince has become even more infatuated with the mysterious woman at the ball, and Cinderella in turn becomes so enchanted by him she loses track of time and leaves only at the final stroke of midnight, losing one of her glass slippers on the steps of the palace in her haste. The Prince chases her, but outside the palace, the guards see only a simple country girl leave. The prince pockets the slipper and vows to find and marry the girl to whom it belongs. Meanwhile, Cinderella keeps the other slipper, which does not disappear when the spell is broken.
- The prince's herald tries the slipper on all the women in the kingdom. When the herald arrives at Cinderella's home, the two stepsisters try in vain to win him over. Cinderella asks if she may try, but the two stepsisters taunt her. Naturally, the slipper fits perfectly, and Cinderella produces the other slipper for good measure. Cinderella's stepfamily pleads for forgiveness, and Cinderella agrees. Cinderella had hoped her step-family would love her always. Cinderella married the prince and forgives her two stepsisters, then marrying them off to two wealthy noblemen of the court. They all lived happily ever after.
The first moral of the story is that beauty is a treasure, but graciousness is priceless. Without it, nothing is possible; with it, one can do anything.
However, the second moral of the story mitigates the first one and reveals the criticism that Perrault is aiming at: That "without doubt it is a great advantage to have intelligence, courage, good breeding, and common sense. These, and similar talents come only from heaven, and it is good to have them. However, even these may fail to bring you success, without the blessing of a godfather or a godmother."
Charles Robinson illustrated Cinderella in the kitchen (1900), from Tales of Passed Times with stories by Charles Perrault.
Oliver Herford illustrated Cinderella with the Fairy Godmother, inspired by Perrault's version.
Cinderella or Cendrillon in French. Gustave Doré's illustration for Cendrillon, 1867
The fitting with the prince onlooking, illustration in Les Contes de Perrault by Gustave Doré, 1862
Aschenputtel, by the Brothers Grimm
Another well-known version was recorded by the German brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm in the 19th century. The tale is called "Aschenputtel" [“The Little Ash Girl”] or "Cinderella" in English translations). This version is much more violent than that of Charles Perrault and Disney, in that Cinderella's father has not died and the two stepsisters mutilate their feet to fit in the golden slipper. There is no fairy godmother in this version of the Brothers Grimm, but rather help comes from a wishing tree that the heroine planted on her deceased mother's grave when she recites a certain chant. In the second edition of their collection (1819), the Brothers Grimm supplemented the original 1812 version with a coda in which the two stepsisters suffer a bloody and terrible punishment by the princess Cinderella, who can become very dangerous when she is angry, for their cruelty.
- A plague infests a village, and a wealthy gentleman's wife lies on her deathbed. She calls for her only daughter, and tells her to remain good and kind, as God would protect her. She then dies and is buried. The child visits her mother's grave every day to grieve and a year goes by. The gentleman marries another woman with two older daughters from a previous marriage. They have beautiful faces and fair skin, but their hearts are cruel and wicked. The stepsisters steal the girl's fine clothes and jewels and force her to wear rags. They banish her into the kitchen, and give her the nickname "Aschenputtel" ("Ashfool"). She is forced to do all kinds of hard work from dawn to dusk for the sisters. The cruel sisters do nothing but mock her and make her chores harder by creating messes. However, despite all of it, the girl remains good and kind, and regularly visits her mother's grave to cry and pray to God that she will see her circumstances improve.
- One day the gentleman visits a fair, promising his stepdaughters gifts of luxury. The eldest asks for beautiful dresses, while the younger for pearls and diamonds. His own daughter merely begs for the first twig to knock his hat off on the way. The gentleman goes on his way, and acquires presents for his stepdaughters. While passing a forest he gets a hazel twig, and gives it to his daughter. She plants the twig over her mother's grave, waters it with her tears and over the years, it grows into a glowing hazel tree. The girl prays under it three times a day, and a white bird always comes to her as she prays. She tells her wishes to the bird, and every time the bird throws down to her what she has wished for.
- The king decides to proclaim a festival that will last for three days and invites all the beautiful maidens in that country to attend so that the prince can select one of them for his bride. The two sisters are also invited, but when Aschenputtel begs them to allow her to go with them into the celebration, the stepmother refuses because she has no decent dress nor shoes to wear. When the girl insists, the woman throws a dish of lentils into the ashes for her to pick up, guaranteeing her permission to attend the festival if she can clean up the lentils in two hours. When the girl accomplished the task in less than an hour with the help of a flock of white doves that came when she sang a certain chant, the stepmother only redoubles the task and throws down even a greater quantity of lentils. When Aschenputtel is able to accomplish it in a greater speed, not wanting to spoil her daughters' chances, the stepmother hastens away with her husband and daughters to the celebration and leaves the crying stepdaughter behind.
- The girl retreats to the graveyard and asks to be clothed in silver and gold. The white bird drops a gold and silver gown and silk shoes. She goes to the feast. The prince dances with her all the time, claiming her as his dance partner whenever a gentleman asks for her hand, and when sunset comes she asks to leave. The prince escorts her home, but she eludes him and jumps inside the estate's pigeon coop. The father came home ahead of time and the prince asks him to chop the pigeon coop down, but Aschenputtel has already escaped from the back, to the graveyard to the hazel tree to return her fine clothes. The father finds her asleep in the kitchen hearth, and suspects nothing. The next day, the girl appears in grander apparel. The prince again dances with her the whole day, and when dark came, the prince accompanies her home. However, she climbs a pear tree in the back garden to escape him. The prince calls her father who chops down the tree, wondering if it could be Aschenputtel, but Aschenputtel was already in the kitchen when the father arrives home. The third day, she appears dressed in grand finery, with slippers of gold. Now the prince is determined to keep her, and has the entire stairway smeared with pitch. Aschenputtel, in her haste to elude the prince, loses one of her golden slippers on that pitch. The prince picks the slipper and proclaims that he will marry the maiden whose foot fits the golden slipper.
- The next morning, the prince goes to Aschenputtel's house and tries the slipper on the eldest stepsister. Since she will have no more need to go on foot when she will be queen, the sister was advised by her mother to cut off her toes to fit the slipper. While riding with the stepsister, the two magic doves from heaven tell the prince that blood drips from her foot. Appalled by her treachery, he goes back again and tries the slipper on the other stepsister. She cut off part of her heel to get her foot in the slipper, and again the prince is fooled. While riding with her to the king's castle, the doves alert him again about the blood on her foot. He comes back to inquire about another girl. The gentleman tells him that his dead wife left a "dirty little Cinderella" in the house, omitting to mention that she is his own daughter, and that she is too filthy to be seen, but the prince asks him to let her try on the slipper. Aschenputtel appears after washing clean her face and hands, and when she puts on the slipper, the prince recognizes her as the stranger with whom he has danced at the festival even before trying it. The stepmother and the two limping sisters were thunderstruck, and grew pale with anger. They wanted to kill Aschenputtel, but the prince put her before him on his horse and rode off.
- In a coda added in the second edition of 1819, during Aschenputtel's royal wedding, the false stepsisters had hoped to worm their way into her favour as the future queen, but this time they don't escape their princess' rage. As she walks down the aisle with her stepsisters as her bridesmaids, Aschenputtel gets her revenge not by killing them, but summoning her doves, resting on her shoulders, to fly down and strike the two stepsisters' eyes, one in the left and the other in the right. It is their last chance of redemption, but since they don't give up, when the wedding comes to an end, and Aschenputtel and her beloved prince march out of the church, her loyal friends and minions fly again, promptly striking the remaining eyes of the two evil sisters blind, a truly awful comeuppance they have to endure as beggars for the rest of their lives. Thus, free from their harassment, Aschenputtel disclaims her family forever and can finally live happily in her true place, on the throne they had tried to steal from her.
Plot variations and alternative tellings
Folklorists have long studied variants on this tale across cultures. In 1893, Marian Roalfe Cox, commissioned by the Folklore Society of Britain, produced Cinderella: Three Hundred and Forty-Five Variants of Cinderella, Catskin and, Cap o'Rushes, Abstracted and Tabulated with a Discussion of Medieval Analogues and Notes. Further morphology studies have continued on this seminal work.
Joseph Jacobs has attempted to reconstruct the original tale as The Cinder Maid by comparing the common features among hundreds of variants collected across Europe. The Aarne–Thompson–Uther system classifies Cinderella as type 510A, "Persecuted Heroine". Others of this type include The Sharp Grey Sheep; The Golden Slipper; The Story of Tam and Cam; Rushen Coatie; The Wonderful Birch; Fair, Brown and Trembling; and Katie Woodencloak.
The magical help
International versions lack the fairy godmother present in the famous Perrault's tale. Instead, the donor is her mother, incarnated into an animal (if she is dead) or transformed into a cow (if alive). In other versions, the helper is an animal, such as a cow, a bull, a pike, or a saint or angel. The bovine helper appears in some Greek versions, in "the Balkan-Slavonic tradition of the tale", and in some Central Asian variants. The mother-as-cow is killed by the heroine's sisters, her bones gathered and from her grave the heroine gets the wonderful dresses.
Professor Sigrid Schmidt stated that "a typical scene" in Kapmalaien (Cape Malays) tales is the mother becoming a fish, being eaten in fish form, the daughter burying her bones and a tree sprouting from her grave.
Professor Gražina Skabeikytė-Kazlauskienė recognizes that the fish, the cow, even a female dog (in other variants), these animals represent "the [heroine's] mother's legacy".Jack Zipes, commenting on a Sicilian variant, concluded much the same: Cinderella is helped by her mother "in the guise of doves, fairies, and godmothers".
Although many variants of Cinderella feature the wicked stepmother, the defining trait of type 510A is a female persecutor: in Fair, Brown and Trembling and Finette Cendron, the stepmother does not appear at all, and it is the older sisters who confine her to the kitchen. In other fairy tales featuring the ball, she was driven from home by the persecutions of her father, usually because he wished to marry her. Of this type (510B) are Cap O' Rushes, Catskin, All-Kinds-of-Fur, and Allerleirauh, and she slaves in the kitchen because she found a job there. In Katie Woodencloak, the stepmother drives her from home, and she likewise finds such a job.
In La Cenerentola, Gioachino Rossini inverted the sex roles: Cenerentola is mistreated by her stepfather. (This makes the opera Aarne-Thompson type 510B.) He also made the economic basis for such hostility unusually clear, in that Don Magnifico wishes to make his own daughters' dowries larger, to attract a grander match, which is impossible if he must provide a third dowry. Folklorists often interpret the hostility between the stepmother and stepdaughter as just such a competition for resources, but seldom does the tale make it clear.
In some retellings, at least one stepsister is somewhat kind to Cinderella and second guesses the Stepmother's treatment. This is seen in Ever After, the twodirect-to-video sequels to Walt Disney's 1950 film, and the 2013 Broadway musical.
The stepsisters, 1865 edition of Cinderella
Cinderella Dressing Her Sisters, Aunt Friendly's Gift, 1890
Stepsisters from Journeys through Bookland, 1922
The stepsisters, illustration in The fairy tales of Charles Perrault by Harry Clarke, 1922
Ball, ballgown, and curfew
The number of balls varies, sometimes one, sometimes two, and sometimes three. The fairy godmother is Perrault's own addition to the tale. The person who aided Cinderella (Aschenputtel) in the Grimms's version is her dead mother. Aschenputtel requests her aid by praying at her grave, on which a tree is growing. Helpful doves roosting in the tree shake down the clothing she needs for the ball. This motif is found in other variants of the tale as well, such as in the Finnish The Wonderful Birch. Playwright James Lapine incorporated this motif into the Cinderella plotline of the musical Into the Woods. Giambattista Basile's Cenerentola combined them; the Cinderella figure, Zezolla, asks her father to commend her to the Dove of Fairies and ask her to send her something, and she receives a tree that will provide her clothing. Other variants have her helped by talking animals, as in Katie Woodencloak, Rushen Coatie, Bawang Putih Bawang Merah, The Story of Tam and Cam, or The Sharp Grey Sheep—these animals often having some connection with her dead mother; in The Golden Slipper, a fish aids her after she puts it in water. In "The Anklet", it's a magical alabaster pot the girl purchased with her own money that brings her the gowns and the anklets she wears to the ball. Gioachino Rossini, having agreed to do an opera based on Cinderella if he could omit all magical elements, wrote La Cenerentola, in which she was aided by Alidoro, a philosopher and formerly the Prince's tutor.
The midnight curfew is also absent in many versions; Cinderella leaves the ball to get home before her stepmother and stepsisters, or she is simply tired. In the Grimms' version, Aschenputtel slips away when she is tired, hiding on her father's estate in a tree, and then the pigeon coop, to elude her pursuers; her father tries to catch her by chopping them down, but she escapes.
Fairy Godmother, Walter Crane, 1897
Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother by Kate Abelmann, 1913
Ballgown Cinderella, illustration in The fairy tales of Charles Perrault by Harry Clarke, 1922
At the ball, 1865 edition
Hurrying out, 1865 edition
The glass slipper is unique to Charles Perrault's version and its derivatives; in other versions of the tale it may be made of other materials (in the version recorded by the Brothers Grimm, German: Aschenbroedel and Aschenputtel, for instance, it is gold) and in still other tellings, it is not a slipper but an anklet, a ring, or a bracelet that gives the prince the key to Cinderella's identity. In Rossini's opera "La Cenerentola" ("Cinderella"), the slipper is replaced by twin bracelets to prove her identity. In the Finnish variant The Wonderful Birch the prince uses tar to gain something every ball, and so has a ring, a circlet, and a pair of slippers. Some interpreters, perhaps troubled by sartorial impracticalities, have suggested that Perrault's "glass slipper" (pantoufle de verre) had been a "squirrel fur slipper" (pantoufle de vair) in some unidentified earlier version of the tale, and that Perrault or one of his sources confused the words; however, most scholars believe the glass slipper was a deliberate piece of poetic invention on Perrault's part.[b]Nabokov has Professor Pnin assert as fact that "Cendrillon's shoes were not made of glass but of Russian squirrel fur – vair, in French". The 1950 Disney adaptation takes advantage of the slipper being made of glass to add a twist whereby the slipper is shattered just before Cinderella has the chance to try it on, leaving her with only the matching slipper with which to prove her identity.
In many variants of the tale, the prince is told that Cinderella can not possibly be the one, as she is too dirty and ragged. Often, this is said by the stepmother or stepsisters. In the Grimms' version, both the stepmother and the father urge it. The prince nevertheless insists on her trying. Cinderella arrives and proves her identity by fitting into the slipper or other item (in some cases she has kept the other).
Stepsister trying the slipper, illustration in The fairy tales of Charles Perrault by Harry Clarke, 1922
The prince pleading for Cinderella to try the shoe, illustration in The fairy tales of Charles Perrault by Harry Clarke, 1922
Trying on the Slipper, Sarah Noble Ives, c. 1912
Cinderella trying on the slipper, 1865 edition
Dean & Son's Cinderella "surprise book" with moving images, c. 1875
Illustration by Carl Offterdinger, late 19th century
Finding that the slipper fits, educational poster by Hans Printz, 1905
Trying the slipper, Askepot og Prinsen
In The Thousand Nights and A Night, in a tale called "The Anklet", the stepsisters make a comeback by using twelve magical hairpins to turn the bride into a dove on her wedding night. In The Wonderful Birch, the stepmother, a witch, manages to substitute her daughter for the true bride after she has given birth. Such tales continue the fairy tale into what is in effect a second episode.
Part two of Dean & Son's Cinderella, 1875
In the German version the stepsisters' eyes get pecked out by the princess' birds
Works based on the Cinderella story
Works based on the story of Cinderella include:
Opera and ballet
In 1804 Cinderella was presented at Drury Lane Theatre, London, described as "A new Grand Allegorical Pantomimic Spectacle" though it was very far in style and content from the modern pantomime. However, it included notable clown Joseph Grimaldi playing the part of a servant called Pedro, the antecedent of today's character Buttons. In 1820 Harlequin and Cinderella at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden had much of the modern story (taken from the opera La Cenerentola) by Rossini but was a Harlequinade again featuring Grimaldi. In 1830 Rophino Lacy used Rossini's music but with spoken dialogue in a comic opera with many of the main characters: the Baron, the two stepsisters and Pedro the servant all as comic characters, plus a Fairy Queen instead of a magician. However it was the conversion of this via burlesque and rhyming couplets by Henry Byron which led to what was effectively the modern pantomime in both story and style at the Royal Strand Theatre in 1860: Cinderella! Or the Lover, the Lackey, and the Little Glass Slipper.
In the traditional pantomime version the opening scene takes place in a forest with a hunt in progress; here Cinderella first meets Prince Charming and his "right-hand man" Dandini, whose name and character come from Gioachino Rossini's opera (La Cenerentola). Cinderella mistakes Dandini for the Prince and the Prince for Dandini. Her father, Baron Hardup, is under the thumb of his two stepdaughters, the Ugly sisters, and has a servant, Cinderella's friend Buttons. (Throughout the pantomime, the Baron is continually harassed by the Broker's Men (often named after current politicians) for outstanding rent. The Fairy Godmother must magically create a coach (from a pumpkin), footmen (from mice), a coach driver (from a frog), and a beautiful dress (from rags) for Cinderella to go to the ball. However, she must return by midnight, as it is then that the spell ceases.
- Cinderella by Rodgers and Hammerstein was produced for television three times and staged live in various productions. A version ran in 1958 at the London Coliseum with a cast including Tommy Steele, Yana, Jimmy Edwards, Kenneth Williams and Betty Marsden. This version was augmented with several other Rodgers and Hammerstein's songs plus a song written by Tommy Steele, "You and Me". In 2013, a Broadway production opened, with a new book by Douglas Carter Beane, and ran for 770 performances.
- Mr. Cinders, a musical, opened at the Adelphi Theatre, London in 1929 and received a film version in 1934.
- Cindy, a 1964 Off-Broadway musical, was composed by Johnny Brandon and has had many revivals.
- Into the Woods, a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, includes Cinderella as one of the many fairy-tale characters in the plot. This is partly based on the Grimm Brothers' version of "Cinderella", including the enchanted birds, mother's grave, three balls, and mutilation and blinding of the stepsisters. It opened on Broadway in 1987 and has had many revivals.
- Cinderella is a musical composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber that premieres in the West End in 2021.
Films and television
Over the decades, hundreds of films have been made that are either direct adaptations from Cinderella or have plots loosely based on the story.
- Aschenputtel (1922), a silhouette shadow play short by Lotte Reiniger. The short silent film uses exaggerated figures and has no background, which creates a stark look. The film shows Aschenputtel's step-sisters graphically hacking their feet off to fit into the glass slipper.
- Cinderella (1922), an animated Laugh-O-Gram produced by Walt Disney, first released on 6 December 1922. This film was about seven and half minutes long.
- Cinderella (1925), an animated short film directed by Walter Lantz, produced by Bray Studios Inc.
- A Kick for Cinderella (1925), an animated short film directed by Bud Fisher, in the Mutt and Jeff series of comic strip adaptations.
- Cinderella Blues (1931), a Van Beuren animated short film featuring a feline version of the Cinderella character.
- Poor Cinderella (1934), Fleischer Studios' first color cartoon and only appearance of Betty Boop in color during the Fleischer era.
- A Coach For Cinderella (1937) – Jam Handy, Cervolet advert
- A Ride For Cinderella (1937) – Jam Handy, Cervolet advert
- Cinderella Meets Fella (1938), a Merrie Melodies animated short film featuring Egghead, the character who would eventually evolve into Elmer Fudd, as Prince Charming.
- Cinderella (1950), a Walt Disney animated feature released on 15 February 1950, now considered one of Disney's classics as well as the most well known film adaptation, including incorporating the titular character as a Disney Princess and its franchise.
- Ancient Fistory (1953) a Popeye parody animated short film.
- Cinderella (1979), an animated short film based on Charles Perrault' s version of the fairy tale. It was produced by the Soyuzmultfilm studio.
- Cinderella? Cinderella! (1986), an episode of Alvin & the Chipmunks. With Brittany of The Chipettes playing the role of Cinderella and Alvin playing the role of Prince Charming.
- Cinderella Monogatari (The Story of Cinderella) (1996), anime television series produced by Tatsunoko Production.
- Cinderella and the Secret Prince (2018), American animated film directed by Lynne Southerland.
- Cinderella the Cat (2017), Italian animated film directed by Alessandro Rak
Non-English language live-action films and TV
- Cinderella (1899), the first film version, produced in France by Georges Méliès, as "Cendrillon".
- Mamele (1938) a Molly Picon vehicle made by the prewar Warsaw Yiddish film industry taking place in contemporary Lodz.
- Cinderella (1947), a Soviet film based on the screenplay by Evgeny Schwartz, with Yanina Zhejmo in the leading role. Shot in black-and-white, it was colorized in 2009.
- Cinderella (1955), German film
- Sandalyas ni Zafira (lit. 'Sandals of Zafira', 1965), a Filipino fantasy film partially based on Cinderella and starring Lyn D'Amour as Princess Zafira
- Sinderella Kül Kedisi (1971), a Turkish fantasy film based on Cinderella and starring Zeynep Değirmencioğlu as Cinderella.
- Three Wishes for Cinderella (Tři oříšky pro Popelku) (1973), a Czechoslovakian/East German fairy tale film starring Libuše Šafránková as Cinderella and Pavel Trávníček as Prince. Frequently shown, especially at Christmas time, in several European countries.
- Rani Aur Lalpari (lit. 'Rani and the Red Fairy'), a 1975 Indian children's fantasy film by Ravikant Nagaich features Cinderella as one of the characters - where she is portrayed by Neetu Singh.
- Cinderella 4×4. Everything starts with desire (Zolushka 4x4. Vsyo nachinayetsya s zhelaniy) (2008), a Russian modernization featuring Darya Melnikova
- Cinderella (2006), a Korean horror film
- Cinderella's Stepsister (2010), a Korean television series
- Aschenputtel (2010 film) [de], a German film
- Aschenputtel (2011 film) [de], another German film
- Aik Nayee Cinderella (2013), a Pakistani modernization serial aired on Geo TV featuring Maya Ali and Osman Khalid Butt
English language live-action feature films
- Cinderella (1911) silent film starring Florence La Badie
- Cinderella (1914), a silent film starring Mary Pickford
- The Glass Slipper (1955), feature film with Leslie Caron and Michael Wilding
- The Slipper and the Rose (1976), a British Sherman Brothers musical film starring Gemma Craven and Richard Chamberlain.
- Into the Woods (2014), a live-action fairy-tale-themed adaptation of the above-mentioned homonymous musical, in which Anna Kendrick's Cinderella is a central character.
- Cinderella (2015), a live-action film starring Lily James as Cinderella, Cate Blanchett as Lady Tremaine, Cinderella's stepmother, Richard Madden as Kit, Prince Charming and Helena Bonham Carter as the Fairy Godmother. It is essentially a live-action reimagining of the 1950 animated film.
- Cinderella (2021), a live-action film musical starring Camila Cabello as Cinderella, Idina Menzel as Cinderella's stepmother, Nicholas Galitzine as the Prince, and Billy Porter as the Fairy Godmother.
Modernizations and parodies
- Ella Cinders (1926), a modern tale starring Colleen Moore, based on a comic strip by William M. Conselman and Charles Plumb, inspired by Charles Perrault's version.
- First Love (1939), a musical modernization with Deanna Durbin and Robert Stack.
- Cinderfella (1960), Cinderfella's (Jerry Lewis) fairy godfather (Ed Wynn) helps him escape from his wicked stepmother (Judith Anderson) and stepbrothers.
- Ever After (1998), starring Drew Barrymore, a post-feminist, historical fiction take on the Cinderella story.
- Ella Enchanted (2004), a fantasy retelling featuring Anne Hathaway, which is based on the 1997 novel of the same name.
- A Cinderella Story (2004), a modernization featuring Hilary Duff and Chad Michael Murray
- Elle: A Modern Cinderella Tale (2010), a modernization featuring Ashlee Hewitt and Sterling Knight
English language live-action TV films and series
- Cinderella (1957), a musical adaptation by Rodgers and Hammerstein written for television and starring Julie Andrews as Cinderella, featuring Jon Cypher, Kaye Ballard, Alice Ghostley, and Edie Adams (originally broadcast in color, but only black-and-white kinescopes survive).
- Cinderella (1965), a second production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, starring 18-year-old Lesley Ann Warren in the leading role, and featuring Stuart Damon as the Prince, with Ginger Rogers, Walter Pidgeon, and Celeste Holm (filmed in color and broadcast annually for 10 years).
- Hey, Cinderella! (1969), a television adaptation featuring The Muppets.
- Cindy (1978), This version of the Cinderella tale with an all-black cast has Cinderella, who wants to marry a dashing army officer, finding out that her father, who she thought had an important job at a big hotel, is actually the men's room attendant. Her wicked stepmother finds out, too, and complications ensue. Starred Charlayne Woodard.
- In 1985, Shelley Duvall produced a version of the story for Faerie Tale Theatre.
- The Charmings (1987), a spoof of Cinderella appears in the episode "Cindy's Back In Town" where Cinderella, portrayed by Kim Johnston Ulrich, makes a play for Snow White's husband Prince Charming.
- Into the Woods (1989), a film of the original 1987 Broadway production of the Stephen Sondheim musical.
- Cinderella (1997), third production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, this time starring Brandy as Cinderella, Whitney Houston as the Fairy Godmother, Bernadette Peters as Cinderella's evil stepmother, Jason Alexander as Lionel the valet and Whoopi Goldberg as the Queen. Remake of the 1957 and 1965 TV films.
- Cinderella, a British TV modernization featuring Marcella Plunkett as Cinderella, Kathleen Turner as the stepmother and Jane Birkin as the fairy godmother.
- The 10th Kingdom (2000) is a TV miniseries featuring Cinderella as a major character.
- Once Upon a Time (2011), features Cinderella as a recurring character, played by Jessy Schram who made a deal with Rumplestiltskin who killed her fairy godmother right in front of her. In 2016, more of the story is shown in which Ashley, Cinderella's real-world counterpart, discovers her stepsister wanted to marry the footman rather than the prince. A different Cinderella in season 7, played by Dania Ramirez, went to the ball to kill the prince, not meet him.
Television parodies and modernizations
- The story was retold as part of the episode "Grimm Job" of the American animated TV series Family Guy (season 12, episode 10), with Lois as Cinderella, Peter as Prince Charming, Mayor West as the fairy godmother, Lois's mother as the wicked step-mother, and Meg and Stewie as the step-sisters.
- Rags (2012), a TV musical gender switched inversion of the Cinderella story that stars Keke Palmer and Max Schneider.
- Sesame Street special "Cinderelmo" and the Magic Adventures of Mumfie episode "Scarecrowella" both feature a male protagonist playing the Cinderella role.
- ^There were three pharoahs called Psammetichus, and it unclear which one Aelian had in mind.
- ^Glass Slippers, —An article hitherto only used to adorn the foot of Cinderella in a fairy tale, may now be seen in that extensive repository of discoveries and improvements, the Polytechnic Institution, Regent-street. We allude to a very curious pair of ladies’ dress-shoes, fabricated from glass, not less flexible than leather or satin, equally light, and far more durable, to judge from the solidity of their texture.
- ^ abAmelia Carruthers (24 September 2015). Cinderella – And Other Girls Who Lost Their Slippers (Origins of Fairy Tales). ISBN .
- ^(Italian: Cenerentola; French: Cendrillon; German: Aschenputtel)
- ^ abZipes, Jack (2001). The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm. W. W. Norton & Co. p. 444. ISBN .
- ^ abDundes, Alan. Cinderella, a Casebook. Madison, Wis: University of Wisconsin Press, 1988.
- ^ abRoger Lancelyn Green: Tales of Ancient Egypt, Penguin UK, 2011, ISBN 978-0-14-133822-4, chapter "The Land of Egypt"
- ^ abBottigheimer, Ruth. (2008). "Before Contes du temps passe (1697): Charles Perrault's Griselidis, Souhaits and Peau". The Romantic Review, Volume 99, Number 3. pp. 175–89
- ^ abcdefghijklmnopqrsAnderson, Graham (2000). Fairytale in the Ancient World. New York City and London, England: Routledge. ISBN .
- ^Hansen, William (2017). The Book of Greek & Roman Folktales, Legends & Myths. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 86–87. ISBN .
- ^Strabo: "The Geography", book 17, 33
- ^Aelian: "Various History", book 13, chapter 33
- ^Herodot, "The Histories", book 2, chapters 134–135
- ^Grimm, Jacob & Grimm, Wilhelm; Taylor, Edgar; Cruikshank, George (illustrator). Grimm's Goblins: Grimm's Household Stories. London: R. Meek & Co.. 1877. p. 294.
- ^Baring-Gould, Sabine. A Book of Fairy Tales. [2d ed.] London: Methuen. 1895. pp. 237–238.
- ^Ben-Amos, D. "Straparola: The Revolution That Was Not". In: The Journal of American Folklore. Vol. 123. No. 490 (Fall 2010). pp. 439–440. JSTOR 
- ^Anderson, Graham. Fairytale in the Ancient World. Routledge. 2000. pp. 29–33. ISBN 0-203-18007-0
- ^"Multiple Births in Legend and Folklore". www.pitt.edu. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
- ^"Ċiklemfusa"(PDF). Rakkonti. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
- ^"Ċiklemfusa". Filmat mill-Aġenzija tal-Litteriżmu. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
- ^ abcdBeauchamp, Fay. "Asian Origins of Cinderella: The Zhuang Storyteller of Guangxi"(PDF). Oral Tradition. 25 (2): 447–496. Archived from the original(PDF) on 15 December 2017. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
- ^Ko, Dorothy (2002). Every Step a Lotus: Shoes for Bound Feet. University of California Press. pp. 26–27. ISBN .
- ^Ulrich Marzolph, Richard van Leeuwen, Hassan Wassouf (2004). The Arabian Nights Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 4. ISBN .
- ^"A Cinderella Tale from Vietnam: the Story of Tam and Cam". www.furorteutonicus.eu. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
- ^Leclère, Adhémard; Feer, Léon. Cambodge: Contes et légendes. Librairie Émile Bouillon. 1895. pp. 70–90.
- ^Leclère, Adhémard; Feer, Léon. Cambodge: Contes et légendes. Librairie Émile Bouillon. 1895. p. 91.
- ^Leclère, Adhémerd. "Le Conte de Cendrillion chez les Cham". In: Revue de Traditions Populaires. Jun/1898. pp. 311–337.
- ^Mayer, Fanny Hagin. "Reviewed Work: 越後のシンデレラ by 水沢謙一" [Echigo no Shinderera by Kenichi Mizusawa]. In: Asian Folklore Studies 24, no. 1 (1965): 151-153. Accessed July 25, 2021. doi:10.2307/1177604.
- ^Basile, Giambattista (1911). Stories from Pentamerone, London: Macmillan & Co., translated by John Edward Taylor. Chapter 6. See also "Il Pentamerone: Cenerentola"Archived 23 November 2019 at the Wayback Machine
- ^A modern edition of the original French text by Perrault is found in Charles Perrault, Contes, ed. Marc Soriano (Paris: Flammarion, 1989), pp. 274–79.
- ^The annotated classic fairy tales. Tatar, Maria, 1945– (1st ed.). New York: Norton. 2002. ISBN . OCLC 49894271.CS1 maint: others (link)
- ^ ab"Perrault: Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper". Pitt.edu. 8 October 2003. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
- ^Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm; Zipes, Jack; Deszö, Andrea. "CINDERELLA". In: The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition. Princeton; Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2014. pp. 69–77. Accessed 29 April 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt6wq18v.28.
- ^Instead of a helpless and sweet kitchen-maid, it's clear that Aschenputtel, with her ability to summon birds as their mistress (they are basically her soldiers), the powerful chants that could grant her anything she wished for, and the ability to make herself invisible, is actually a very powerful witch.
- ^Aschenputtel, included in Household Stories by the Brothers Grimm, translated by Lucy Crane, at Project Gutenberg
- ^"If The Shoe Fits: Folklorists' criteria for #510"
- ^Jacobs, Joseph (1916). Europa's Fairy Book. G. P. Putnam's sons.
- ^Heidi Anne Heiner, "Tales Similar to Cinderella"
- ^Garner, Emelyn Elizabeth. Folklore From the Schoharie Hills, New York. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan press, 1937. p. 130.
- ^Kaplanoglou, Marianthi. "“Stachtopouta" and "Nifitsa": Spinning Tales in Relation With Feminine Productivity and Dowry Practices of Modern Greece". In: Estudis De Literatura Oral Popular [Studies in Oral Folk Literature]. [en línia], 2014, Núm. 4, pp. 67, 69. https://www.raco.cat/index.php/ELOP/article/view/304851 [Consulta: Consulta: 13 March 2021].
- ^Schmidt, Sigrid. "Reviewed Work: The World and the Word by Nongenile Masithathu Zenani, Harold Scheub". In: Anthropos 90, no. 1/3 (1995): 312. Accessed 18 April 2021. http://www.jstor.org/stable/40463177.
- ^Skabeikytė-Kazlauskienė, Gražina. Lithuanian Narrative Folklore: Didactical Guidelines. Kaunas: Vytautas Magnus University. 2013. p. 14. ISBN 978-9955-21-361-1.
- ^Pitrè, Giuseppe; Zipes, Jack David; Russo, Joseph. The collected Sicilian folk and fairy tales of Giuseppe Pitrè. New York: Routledge, 2013 . p. 845. ISBN 9781136094347.
- ^Heidi Anne Heiner, "Tales Similar to Donkeyskin"
- ^"Katie Woodencloak (Norwegian Version of Cinderella)".
- ^Marina Warner, From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales And Their Tellers, p 213-4 ISBN 0-374-15901-7
- ^Jane Yolen, p 23, Touch MagicISBN 0-87483-591-7
- ^Maria Tatar, The Annotated Brothers Grimm, p 116 W. W. Norton & company, London, New York, 2004 ISBN 0-393-05848-4
- ^Maria Tatar, p 28, The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales, ISBN 0-393-05163-3
- ^"Glass Slippers". Bell's Weekly Messenger. 25 November 1838. p. 4.
- ^Pnin, chapter 6
- ^Maria Tatar, The Annotated Brothers Grimm, p 126-8 W. W. Norton & company, London, New York, 2004 ISBN 0-393-05848-4
- ^Mardrus, Joseph-Charles; Powys Mathers (June 1987). The book of the Thousand Nights and One Night. 4. London and New York: Routledge. pp. 191–194. ISBN .
- ^"Josef Bayer (1852–1913)". www.johann-strauss.org.uk. The Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
- ^Cinderella, a full-length opera by Alma Deutscher. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
- ^ abcdClinton-Baddeley, V. C. (1963). Some Pantomime Pedigrees. The Society for Theatrical Research. pp. 9–11.
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Tale of the Nine Tailed
2020 South Korea television series
|Tale of the Nine Tailed|
|Also known as||Tale of the Gumiho|
The Tale of a Gumiho
|Created by||Lee Myung-han (tvN)|
|Developed by||Studio Dragon|
|Written by||Han Woo-ri|
|Directed by||Kang Shin-hyo|
|Ending theme||Blue moon|
|Country of origin||South Korea|
|No. of episodes||16|
|Executive producer||Kim Young-kyu|
|Producers||Park Jin-hyung |
|Running time||65–70 minutes|
|Production companies||Studio Dragon|
|Original release||October 7 (2020-10-07) –|
December 3, 2020 (2020-12-03)
Tale of the Nine Tailed (Korean: 구미호뎐; Hanja: 九尾狐傳; RR: Gumihodyeon; lit. Tale of the Nine-Tailed Fox) is a South Korean television drama starring Lee Dong-wook, Jo Bo-ah and Kim Bum. It aired on tvN from October 7 to December 3, 2020, every Wednesday and Thursday at 22:30 (KST) with 16 episodes. A spinoff titled, The Untold Story Of The Tale Of The Nine-Tailed, will make up for the halt in production of Episodes 13 and 14 of the original series to "ensure better production".
Lee Yeon (Lee Dong-wook) -an over 1000-years-old Gumiho and once the guardian mountain spirit of Baekdudaegan -is now a city dweller. He works with Taluipa(Kim Jung-nan)-an agent in the Afterlife Immigration Office and the protector of the Samdo river- to eradicate supernatural beings that threaten the mortal world. He lives in the city where he is assisted by his loyal subject, veterinarian, and fellow Gumiho, Goo Shin-Joo.
On a mission to capture a fox that has killed and eaten the livers of many humans and is now marrying a man in the guise of a human woman, he is spotted by Nam Ji-ah (Jo Bo-ah) -a smart, ferocious, and dauntless producer at TVC Station.
Ji-ah recognizes Yeon when he is leaving the venue and later spots him on camera through his red, distinctly marked umbrella. She finds where Yeon lives, suspects him of being supernatural, and ultimately tests her theory by jumping off of his flat with a memory chip that contains a video of Yeon fighting another fox (Lee Rang- his half-brother) with their powers, forcing Yeon to follow and save her.
It is then revealed that as a child, on her ninth birthday, Nam Ji-ah was involved in a road accident in which her parents were supposed to be dead. However, Ji-ah is the only one who remembers that two other people, not human, posed as her parents. They were foxes trying to eat Ji-ah but she was saved by Lee Yeon. Even though he compelled her to forget him, the magic did not work on her. Later, she found herself at the accident site but her parents’ bodies were never discovered.
It motivated her to believe that her parents were alive and so she decided to look into supernatural beings and look for any way to find and rescue her parents.
Later in the series, it is revealed that Nam Ji-Ah is the reincarnation of Ah-Eum, a human who was the first love of Yeon.
She died at the hands of Yeon while trying to save him from Imoogi- an evil earth dragon who wanted to inhabit the body of the guardian mountain spirit. By abusing his powers, a heartbroken Yeon stopped the boat carrying Ah-Eum across the Samdo River, kissed her, and gave her a fox bead while asking her to promise to be reincarnated. In return, he promised Ah-Eum that whenever she came back, he would find her through the bead.
Throughout centuries, Yeon encountered several lookalikes of Ah-Eum but none bore the fox bead.
The story progresses as Lee Yeon tries to fight his growing attraction to Nam Ji-ah despite the absence of fox bead, his investigation as to why Ji-ah not only looks like Ah-Eum but also resembles her habits, and his reaction upon discovering that she indeed is his first love.
Meanwhile, Yeon has to deal with Lee Rang(Kim-Bum), his half-brother who felt abandoned when Yeon abdicated his post as guardian mountain spirit to work with Taluipa in exchange for Ah-Eum's reincarnation. Rang develops a deep grudge against his brother for choosing Ah-Eum over him and being the mountain's protector. With the assistance of Ki Yoo-ri(Kim Yong-ji), he continuously harms human beings as a way of antagonizing his brother.
In this mix is added the also reincarnated earth dragon. Imoogi is back and this time, he wants not only Yeon's body but also Ji-ah's heart.
With so many humans, demons, and supernatural beings standing between their reunion, just how the nine-tailed Mountain Spirit and fierce Production Director will protect their love, pacify the broken hearts around them, and beat the hellish being that craves their bodies, hearts, and lives makes up the rest of the story.
- The titular gumiho (nine-tailed fox). Former mountain spirit and guardian of Baekdudaegan, lover of Ah-eum/ Ji-ah and half-brother of Lee Rang. He carries out missions from the Afterlife Immigration Office while searching for the reincarnation of Ah-eum. He encountered several look-alike of Ah-eum but none bore the fox bead. He saved Ji-ah when she was young, but she does not have the fox bead, making Yeon believe that she is not the reincarnation of Ah-eum. Later in the series, it is revealed that Ji-ah is indeed reincarnation of Ah-eum. Her fox bead appeared when Lee Yeon saved her from falling from a building.
- Jo Bo-ah as Nam Ji-ah / Ah-eum
- Park Da-yeon as young Ji-ah / Ah-eum
- Nam Ji-ah is a 30-year producer at TVC Station. She is the reincarnation of Ah-eum who was Lee Yeon's past lover, the exiled princess, and the seventh daughter of the King. To save her father, who was possessed by the Imoogi, she allowed the Imoogi to reside in her body instead, promising to take him to Yeon. She asked Lee Yeon to kill her so that she could protect him from sacrificing himself. After reincarnating, she is often seen to have double personalities, who is later revealed to be Imoogi inside her. Imoogi used her to threaten Lee Yeon, in order to have his body. When she tried to sacrifice herself again to protect Yeon from Imoogi, she was stopped by him and allowed Imoogi to take over his body instead.
- A half-blood gumiho and Lee Yeon's younger half-brother, who seeks revenge on his brother by creating mischief. He intentionally causes harm to humans, which causes trouble to Yeon in turn. He hides his caring nature while harboring a deep grudge for his brother. As a child, he was abandoned by his human mother in the Forest of the Starved. There, he was attacked by the spirits of the villagers but was saved by Yeon. He followed his brother to the mountain to start anew and lived happily. But when Ah-eum died, Yeon left Baekdudaegan and abdicated his status as the mountain spirit, leaving Rang alone on the mountain, thus causing the growing hatred for Lee Yeon.
Mythical Beings around Lee Yeon
- Younger sister of King Yeomra (supreme ruler of the underworld), and wife of Hyunuiong. She works at the Afterlife Immigration Office managing the list of dead souls and gives missions to Lee Yeon. She appears to be cold-hearted but has a strict motherly affection for Yeon who calls her "Granny" in return. She had a son named Bok Gil who died but cannot be reincarnated again because he killed himself by jumping into the Samdo River.
- The gatekeeper of Samdo River, the husband of Taluipa and father of Bok Gil. He also works at the Afterlife Immigration Office and briefs dead souls before entering the underworld. He appears to be both obedient and scared of his wife.
- Lee Yeon's loyal subject and friend, also a gumiho. After having bewitched innocent humans to lose their minds in revenge for his sisters who were killed by human traps, he fled from the former mountain spirit he served to save his life and ended up at Lee Yeon's forest. He was saved by Lee Yeon, who refused to return him to the mountain spirit and since then decided to dedicate his life for him. In present day, he is a veterinarian who can speak to animals using his magic necklace. He liked Ki Yoo-ri from the first time he met her.
- Owner of the restaurant where Lee Yeon and Nam Ji-ah's team at TVC Station usually dines in. She knows all the supernatural beings in the world. She's a widow living for hundreds of years already. Her husband was devoured by a tiger through the Spirit of Darkness' trick on someone's greatest fear.
Mythical Beings around Lee Rang
- Lee Rang's loyal accomplice, a young gumiho from Russia. She was saved by Rang from a zoo where she was being maltreated. As her way of payment for saving her life, she eagerly carries out Rang's orders in causing trouble to his enemies. She assumed the identity of the 24-year old director of Moze Department Store who died while trekking in Nepal.
- A serpent beast in human form, the nemesis of Lee Yeon, who has the power to read others' minds. Centuries ago, he was born in a cave where people were dying of the plague. He took the body of the King, Ah-eum's father, as host. To save her father, Ah-eum allowed the Imoogi to transfer to her body for him to meet Yeon. He was killed by Yeon while inside of Ah-eum. In the present day, he is reborn at Eohwa Island with the help of Kwon Hae-ryong and Lee Rang. As a child, the Imoogi sucks the life out of his babysitters as his meal, turning them into mummified corpses, to be fully grown in a short period of time. In his adult form, he has the same face as Bok-gil, the deceased son of Taluipa and Hyunuiong. He was originally a dragon that would become the mountain spirit, but was disqualified after a human spotted him in his dragon form. Hence, he wants to take the body of Lee Yeon, Baekdudaegan's former mountain spirit and marry Nam Ji-ah, the reincarnation of Princess Ah-eum who was supposed to be a sacrifice for him. With the help of his servant, the CEO at TVC Station, he disguised himself as Terry, an intern in Ji-ah's team at TVC Station. It is eventually revealed that Imoogi was responsible for infecting Bok Gil's wife leading to their deaths.
- Jung Si-yul as Kim Soo-oh
- A young boy who is adopted by Lee Rang. In his previous life, he was the puppy dog Geomdung raised by Lee Rang which was given to him by his brother Lee Yeon, and he died due to a fire set by humans in the mountains 600 years ago. Soo-oh first appeared as a kid at the park met by Lee Yeon. Later on, Soo-oh immediately recognized Lee Rang at the sidewalk, though Lee Rang initially does not reciprocate. Soo-oh found the Eyebrows of the Tiger in the form of glasses which can make its wearer see the past life of another. Rang retrieved it from him and upon wearing, discovered Soo-oh is indeed the reincarnation of his beloved Geomdung. Later on, he was saved by Rang from his abusive step-father.
People around Nam Ji-ah
- CEO of TVC Station who is secretly the Imoogi's mysterious servant. He served during the reign of Ah-eum's father. As he sacrificed his wife and children to the Imoogi in exchange for extending his life, he is described as a living corpse since he prolonged his life for many centuries by stealing the lives of humans trapped in ground cherries. He also saved Rang's life after he was supposedly killed by Yeon, thereby making Rang indebted to him. He is also the man in a navy blue suit with a criminal branding on his forehead "Seogyeong" who caused the car accident of Nam Ji-ah's parents.
- A writer at TVC Station and Ji-ah's teammate. In her past life, she was a handmaiden who assisted and raised Ah-eum when she was exiled.
- A PD assistant at TVC Station and Ji-ah's teammate. In his past life, he was a eunuch who assisted and raised Ah-eum when she was exiled.
- Team leader of Nam Ji-ah, Kim Sae-rom and Pyu Jae-hwan, who woos Bok Hye-ja. He is revealed to be the reincarnation of Bok Hye-ja's deceased husband.
- Nam Ji-ah's mother who is a doctor. She went missing since the Yeou Gogae accident 20 years ago and revealed to be turned into a ground cherry.
- Nam Ji-ah's father who is a professor. He went missing since the Yeou Gogae accident 20 years ago and revealed to be turned into a ground cherry along with his wife.
Other Mythical Beings
- Shim So-young as the Spirit of Darkness, the Imoogi's partner who preys on someone's greatest fear. She appears as a lady peddler in a green outfit, giving away bottled juice for free to her victims. She has been part of urban legends but rarely anyone could recall her name. Among her victims were Bok Hye-ja's husband and through the Imoogi's bidding, Lee Rang, Nam Ji-ah and Lee Yeon as well. Ultimately, she was killed by Yeon after he tricked her to enter his subconscious. (Ep. 8 & 9)
- Woo Hyun as the totem spirit of Yeou Gogae who appears as a mysterious drunkard. He first appeared at a bus stop where Nam Ji-ah was supposed to board a bus that went into a fatal accident later. He annoyingly grabbed Ji-ah's leg to stop her from boarding which also meant saving her life. She volunteered to carry him on her back going home but asked to be dropped off by the side of the road. Later on, he involuntarily gave Rang the lead to obtaining the Eyebrows of the Tiger. (Ep. 1 & 5)
- Son Woo-hyun as Jung Hyun-woo, a security staff at TVC station whose true form is a bulgasari (Ep. 2 & 9)
- Lee Kyu-hyung as Governor / Moon Bear, a former mountain spirit and best friend of Lee Yeon (Ep. 6 & 15). He owned the Mirror of the Moon, one of the four gems of the four mountain spirits. He provided a crucial lead on the disappearance of Nam Ji-ah's parents.
- Lim Ki-hong as the mysterious fortune teller with white eyes, who trades powerful objects with the most precious thing in someone's life. Through him, Lee Rang traded his brother Lee Yeon in exchange of the Eyebrows of the Tiger. In turn, Nam Ji-ah traded the fox bead to redeem Lee Yeon. He turns out to be the 10th and last Afterlife judge, the King of Darkness who was in charge of reincarnation. He who would leave his post once in a while to stay in the human world. (Ep. 6 & 16)
- Lee Jung-min as the bride whose true form is a gumiho. On her wedding day, Lee Yeon pursued her to execute the punishment by death for the crimes she committed against humanity. (Ep. 1)
- Kim Young-sun as a shaman who attempted to sacrifice Nam Ji-ah to the Imoogi (Ep. 2–3)
- Do Yun-jin as Seo Pyung-hee, daughter of Seo Ki-chang. She is the only one who did not mysteriously disappear on the island; however, she is the one who cursed her father's crew-mate with the help of a shaman. (Ep. 2–4)
- Maeng Bong-hak as Seo Ki-chang, father of Seo Pyung-hee, who was murdered and eaten by his crewmates when they were lost at the sea. (Ep. 2–3)
- Ji Heon-il as Jin-Sik, a fisherman. (Ep. 2–3)
- Jang Yong-chul as a fisherman. (Ep. 2–3)
- Keum Dong-hyun as a fisherman. (Ep. 2–3)
- Kim Gui-seon as fishing boat captain. (Ep. 2–3)
- Kim Sun-yool as a mountain spirit tied to a tree. (Ep. 2–3)
- Joo Boo-jin as an elderly woman. (Ep. 2–3)
- Park Seung-tae as an elderly woman. (Ep. 2–3)
- Lee Taek-geun as the groom of the disguised gumiho bride. (Ep. 1)
- Son Dong-hwa as the groom next door. (Ep. 1)
- Chu Ye-jin as Jung Soo-young, a 17-year-old student who was the only survivor of a deadly bus accident at Yeou Gogae, later morphed into Lee Rang as her true form. The real Soo-young was killed (eaten) by Rang. (Ep. 1)
- Jang Won-hyung as Baek Si-woo, the detective who investigated the bus accident at Yeou Gogae that killed 5 people. (Ep. 1)
- Jang Eui-don as a bus passenger who died in the accident, husband. (Ep. 1)
- Yoon Tae-hee as a bus passenger who died in the accident, wife. (Ep. 1)
- Kim Hwan-young as son of the bus passengers. He met Lee Rang at a wishing fountain at Moze Department Store before. (Ep. 1)
- Yu Jun-won a family member of one of the deceased bus passengers. (Ep. 1)
- Choi Sung-woong as funeral hall security. (Ep. 1)
- Choi Seung-il as father of the real Ki Yoo-ri. (Ep. 4)
- Oh Jung-won as mother of the real Ki Yoo-ri. (Ep. 4)
- Lee Ye-bit as Min-seo, a child ghost. (Ep. 4–5)
- Jung Ah-young as Yeon-seo, a child ghost. (Ep. 4–5)
- Park No-shik as Min-seo & Yeon-seo's father. (Ep. 5)
- Kim Nak-gyoon as Min-seo & Yeon-seo's uncle. (Ep. 5)
- Jang Young-hyeon as watch salesman at Brennetano. (Ep. 5)
- Jo Hyun-im as Imoogi's babysitter. (Ep. 5)
- Seo Jin-won as Seo Hwan-ho, a baseball player who maltreated a puppy. (Ep. 5)
- No Seong-eun as No Hae-sung, a baseball player who maltreated a puppy. (Ep. 5)
- Han Chang-hun as Han Tae-soo, a baseball player who maltreated a puppy. (Ep. 5)
- Shin Ji-Yeon as babysitter, the last meal of the Imoogi before becoming an adult. (Ep. 7)
- Park Su-yeon as Lee Rang's mother who abandoned him. She resented having a child with a gumiho. (Ep. 7–8)
- Sun Woo Jae Duk as the King, Ah-eum's father, the first host body of the Imoogi (Ep. 8)
- Kim Young-sun as Psychiatrist Choi, a friend of Nam Ji-ah's mom. She facilitated Ji-ah's hypnotherapy session when she was 9 years old. (Ep. 8)
- Kim Hyo-myung as Kim Soo-oh's stepfather (Ep. 11)
The poster of the television series was unveiled by Lee Dong-wook and Jo Bo-ah on September 9, 2020, which was termed as "Rhapsody of intense affection".
|1.||"Blue Moon"||Jayins||Kim Jong-wan (Nell)||3:37|
|2.||"Blue Moon" (Inst.)||3:37|
|1.||"I'll Be There"||Dailog||Dailog||Shownu (Monsta X)||3:28|
|2.||"I'll Be There" (Inst.)||Dailog||3:28|
|1.||"Moonchild Ballad" (월아연가 (月兒戀歌))||Lyn||4:23|
|2.||"Moonchild Ballad" (Inst.)||4:23|
|1.||"Diary of Dawn" (새벽일기)||Yang Da-il||4:45|
|2.||"Diary of Dawn" (Inst.)||4:45|
|3.||"The Legend of the Fox - Tale of the Nine Tailed Opening Title" (여우 전설 (구미호뎐 Opening Title))||Hong Dae-sung||1:00|
|4.||"Moonchild Ballad - Score Version" (월아연가 (Score Ver.))||Hong Dae-sung||4:17|
|5.||"Parting at the River of Three Crossings" (삼도천의 이별)||Hong Dae-sung||5:15|
|6.||"The Fox's Wedding Day (Lee Yeon Theme Song)" (여우가 시집 가는 날 (이연 테마))||Hong Dae-sung||1:34|
|7.||"The Uninvited" (불청객)||Hong Dae-sung||3:12|
|8.||"I Waited For You" (나는 너를 기다렸어)||Hong Dae-sung||1:26|
|9.||"The Nine Tailed Fox" (구미호)||Hong Dae-sung||1:44|
|10.||"Lightning Bugs" (반딧불이)||Hong Dae-sung||2:53|
|1.||"Leaning On You" (비스듬히 너에게)||Shim Hyun-bo||Shim Hyun-bo||Sung Si-kyung||4:02|
|2.||"Leaning On You" (Inst.)||Shim Hyun-bo||4:02|
|1.||"Love Already Bloomed in My Heart" (그대가 꽃이 아니면)||Hynn||3:42|
|2.||"Love Already Bloomed in My Heart" (Inst.)||3:42|
|1.||"Stay With Me"||Dinner Coat||Dinner Coat||YooA (Oh My Girl)||3:27|
|2.||"Stay With Me" (Inst.)||Dinner Coat||3:27|
|1.||"My Destiny"||Miyeon ((G)I-DLE)||3:38|
|2.||"My Destiny" (Inst.)||3:38|
|Ep.||Original broadcast date||Title||Average audience share|
|1||October 7, 2020||The Incident That Occurred On Yeou Gogae||5.804%(1st)||6.479%(1st)|
|2||October 8, 2020||I've Been Waiting for You||5.557% (1st)||6.222% (1st)|
|3||October 14, 2020||The Secret of the Dragon King||5.588% (1st)||5.988% (1st)|
|4||October 15, 2020||Verge of Death||5.511% (1st)||6.075% (1st)|
|5||October 21, 2020||I Also Waited For You||5.100% (1st)||5.352% (1st)|
|6||October 22, 2020||Four Pillars of Destiny||4.962% (1st)||5.800% (1st)|
|7||October 28, 2020||The Trap of Samsara||4.789% (1st)||5.433% (1st)|
|8||October 29, 2020||Reincarnation||5.137% (1st)||5.666% (1st)|
|9||November 4, 2020||Spirit of Darkness||5.115% (1st)||5.623% (1st)|
|10||November 5, 2020||Deja-vu||4.474%(1st)||4.776%(1st)|
|11||November 11, 2020||Ground Cherries||4.863% (1st)||5.010% (1st)|
|12||November 12, 2020||Catch the Tail||5.318% (1st)||5.828% (1st)|
|13||November 25, 2020||The Other Imoogi||5.195% (1st)||6.275% (1st)|
|14||November 26, 2020||Dead End||5.160% (1st)||5.923% (1st)|
|15||December 2, 2020||Without Knowing Imoogi's Plan||5.224% (1st)||6.082% (1st)|
|16||December 3, 2020||The Rewritten Tale of the Nine Tailed||5.785% (1st)||6.436% (1st)|
- ^수정: 2019.12.26 15:53, 입력: 2019 12 26 15:47 (December 26, 2019). "이동욱X조보아, 드라마 '구미호뎐' 주연으로 캐스팅" [Lee Dong-wook and Jo Bo-ah Confirm Starring Roles in "Tale of the Nine Tailed"]. sports.khan.co.kr (in Korean). Retrieved September 28, 2020.
- ^"김범, tvN '구미호뎐' 합류...이동욱과 호흡 [공식]" [Kim Bum in "Tale of the Nine Tailed" With Lee Dong-wook]. TV리포트. April 9, 2020. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
- ^Lim, Jang-won (October 11, 2020). "3 Wednesday-Thursday dramas kick off together". The Korea Herald. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
- ^"Kim Bum's Lee Rang Is Getting A 'Tale Of The Nine-Tailed' Spinoff". www.clozette.co. Retrieved December 5, 2020.
- ^"tvN 드라마 공식 계정's Instagram video: "[구미호뎐 : 못다한 이야기] 이랑의 못다한 이야기 대공개 EP.1 ▶ 11/18(수) [구미호뎐] 스페셜 직후 tvN 방송 EP.2 ▶ 11/27(금) 밤 10시 30분 [구미호뎐] 본편 재방 직후 OtvN 방송 EP.3 ▶ 12/4(금) 밤…"". Instagram. Retrieved December 5, 2020.
- ^Seonghyun, Kim (December 12, 2019). "tvN "이동욱·조보아 '구미호뎐' 출연 제안"...양측 "검토중"(공식입장)" [tvN “Dong-wook Lee and Bo-ah Jo's proposal to appear in'Gumiho'”... both sides "under review" (official position)]. YTN (in Korean).
- ^Jeong, Han-ho (August 4, 2020). "[S톡] 김범, 4년 만의 드라마 복귀 강렬 캐릭터 예고" [[S Talk] Kim Beom, a character that will return to drama after 4 years]. Star Daily News.
- ^Hong, Se-young (June 25, 2020). "김용지 측 "'구미호뎐' 출연확정"…이동욱·조보아와 연기호흡 [공식입장]" [Kim Yong-ji in "Tale of the Nine-Tailed"]. Donga.com.
- ^Lee, Woo-joo (September 9, 2020). "'구미호뎐' 이동욱X조보아, 메인 포스터 공개...격한 애정의 랩소디" ['Gumiho' Lee Dong-wook X Jo Boa unveils main poster...Rhapsody of intense affection]. Sports Chosun (in Korean).
- ^ ab"Nielsen Korea". AGB Nielsen Media Research (in Korean). Retrieved October 7, 2020.
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