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Issue Details: First known date: 2018... 2018 Fairies in the Bush : The Emergence of a National Identity in Australian Fairy Tales
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'The outpouring of national sentiment as the colonies moved towards Federation heralded a quest for the ‘Australianising’ of children’s books: fairy tales were no exception. European fairy folk were placed in, or perhaps transported to, bush settings as authors re-imagined the ways in which the emigrant old-world creatures could claim a place in the Australian environment. This paper explores efforts of the early writers to locate an Australian fairyland in the ‘bush’ and contribute to the transmission of national identity.' (Publication abstract)


  • Epigraph: And why not fairies in Australia? Why should not our innumerable ferny glades, romantic valleys, mountainous passes, and lonesome glens, be peopled with fays and elves? Why should not Robin Goodfellow be found sitting jauntily astride the gorgeous waratah, or chasing the laughing jackass from its favourite bough? But all in good time. In the generations yet to come, unless the State schools make the little ones too learned, we shall have Australian fairy tales, stories in which goblin, kangaroos and emus, graceful sprites, and bearded magicians, will be found on every Fairyland in Australia. (‘Fairyland in Australia’ 1880: 3)

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    y separately published work icon TEXT Special Issue Website Series Into the Bush : Australasian Fairy Tales no. 43 2018 12939535 2018 periodical issue

    'At the turn of the last century, writers like Atha Westbury and Hume Cook were asking whether Australia had its own fairies, its own fairy tale lore. They attempted to fill the perceived lack of traditional fairy-tale narratives with their own published works of fairy tale. The titles authors chose for their collections – for instance, Olga Ernst’s Fairy tales from the land of the wattle and Annette Kellermann’s Fairy tales of the south seas and other stories – often revealed an overt wish to build a fairy-tale tradition that was distinctly and uniquely Australian. While some of these tales simply relocated existing European tales to the Australian context, most used classic fairy-tale tropes and themes to create new adventures. Other writers and collectors, like K Langloh-Parker, Sister Agnes and Andrew Lang, sought to present Indigenous tales as examples of local folk and fairy tales – a project of flawed good intentions grounded in colonial appropriation. These early Australian publications are largely forgotten and, in many ways, the erasure or forgetting of narratives that were often infused with colonial attitudes to gender, class, race, is far from regrettable. And yet there was a burgeoning local tradition of magical storytelling spearheaded by the delicate fairies of Ida Rentoul Outhwaite’s brush and the gumnut babies of May Gibbs that celebrated the Australian environment, its flora and fauna, populating and decorating new tales for the nation’s children.' (Rebecca-Anne Do Rozario, Nike Sulway and Belinda Calderone : Introduction)

Last amended 22 Feb 2018 08:47:34 Fairies in the Bush : The Emergence of a National Identity in Australian Fairy Talessmall AustLit logo TEXT Special Issue Website Series
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