C.S. Lewis on Fairy Tales & Five Recommendations to Get You Started


There’s been a bit of a hullabaloo over the past fortnight over whether fairy tales are dangerous, and just what is suitable reading for adults. In a fine response to the controversy, Gracy Olmstead affirms that, indeed, fairy tales are dangerous, and in all the right ways.

C.S. Lewis agreed with her. In his dedication of one of the great Twentieth Century fairy tales, The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe, to his goddaughter Lucy Barfield, Lewis wrote:

My Dear Lucy,
I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.

Lewis believed it, for his favorite reading for relaxation throughout his life was The Wind in the Willows.

From the old classics of Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen to the Eighteenth Century forerunner of Lewis and Tolkien, George MacDonald and his contemporary Oscar Wilde, give fairy tales a try. You might find you’re old enough to read them again.

Here are five recommendations to get you started. You might even try finding someone to read them to.

Andrew Lang, The Blue Fairy Book

George MacDonald, The Complete Fairy Tales

George MacDonald, The Princess and the Goblin

Oscar Wilde, Complete Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde

E.A. Wyke-Smith, The Marvellous Land of Snergs


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