Review of; Gramarye: The first edition of the Journal by The Sussex
Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tale and Fantasy
Once upon a time I was a student studying Art & Related
Art’s at University College Chichester. It was here where I re-kindled my childhood
love of fairy Tales. In a second year art project I had to produce works based
on a book given to me by another student. The book in question was Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl. This
lead to me immersing myself in fairy tales working my way back to the older and
often more darker tales.
For my degree show I produced a collection of paintings that
commented on the misuse, censoring and editing of fairy tales. Some of my
pieces were brought by local modern Art collector Paul Wilson.
|my degree show 'Lovetale' 2001|
Gramarye is the first
edition of the journal by The Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tale and
Fantasy. I was disappointed to miss its launch in May, but did get my copy delivered
by post and greatly enjoyed it. So I thought I’d do a little review.
Firstly let me point out that I approached the journal from the
perspective of a fairy tale enthusiast NOT a scholar.
Gramarye is firstly an aesthetically pleasing and
well-constructed journal. It is a pleasure to read, with good size font and
well considered illustrations to compliment the text.
This first addition has papers by eight fairytale and
folklorist, plus a preface by Chichester professor and journal editor William
Gray. The preface has a lovely introduction to the journal and an explanation
as to the many fascinating reasons why the name Gramarye was picked.
I won’t comment on every article in the journal, but I will
say something about a few I most enjoyed and think I learnt the most from.
Firstly I was absolutely fascinated by Jaqueline Simpson’s article ‘Terry
Pratchett; A Vast Consumer of Folklore.
I also very much enjoyed learning about the Undomestic witch in Diane
Purkiss’s article ‘The Undomestic Witch: Scottish Witches, fairies and the Old
To me though, Maria Nikolajeva’s piece entitled ‘My
Favourite Story when I was Young’ was particularly interesting. Maria shares
with us her experiences of fairy tales from her childhood, and the differences
in our cultures. Stating, rather interestingly; ‘In my culture, there was no practice of retelling scary books into
nice and cute ones, nor selecting only stories deemed suitable for children…’She then goes on to tell us about her favourite
Han’s Christian-Andersen tales, explaining how she was drawn to the ‘dark and enigmatic stories’. This
struck a cord with me, as when I was a child, I too preferred the darker more
gory tales, like The Girl with Red Shoes, returning to them again and again.
Another article I found particularly intriguing was Karl
Bells ‘The Legend of Spring-Healed Jack;
Urban Folklore and Victorian Popular Cultures’. In it he charts the rise
and fall of London based folklore trickster Spring-Healed
Jack, who terrorised the London streets through mischief and attack, before
enacting daring escapes across the rooftops of London.
These are just a few of the fantastic articles in the journal.
Of which I could prattle on about for ages. I won’t though, instead I urge you
to log on to the University’s web-site (press here) and order your own copy,
it’s a bargain at £8.00 which also includes postage to mainland UK.