Authored by: Katharine Young

The Routledge Companion to Media and Fairy-Tale Cultures

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138946156
eBook ISBN: 9781315670997
Adobe ISBN:


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Tales of fairies invoke one of two alternate realities: the fairy-tale world and fairyland. Each of these storyworlds has a different constitution and a different relationship to the realm of the ordinary in which the stories are told. The fairy-tale world is an imaginary reality conjured up by the act of narration. Such a reality is sustained by the joint attention of tellers and hearers or writers and readers. By contrast, fairyland, the world of the fairy legend, is an alternate reality connected to the realm of the ordinary at certain times in certain places. The two realms do not constitute a single reality but hold together two incommensurable realities in an unstable ontology. Whereas fairy tales present a different reality, fairy legends propose that our reality is different from what we supposed it was. The fairy-tale world takes the ontological status of the imaginary; the world of the fairy legend solicits the ontological status of the real.

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