Fairy Tales,  Interviews,  Show Notes

Episode 220: Fairy Tales and Children’s Literature with Dr. Vigen Guroian

Welcome to a new episode of The Literary Life podcast and an interview with special guest Dr. Vigen Guroian, retired professor of Religious Studies and Orthodox Christianity at the University of Virginia and author of twelve book and numerous scholarly articles. Angelina Stanford and Thomas Banks discuss with Dr. Guroian the new edition of his book, Tending the Heart of Virtue. They start out talking about how the first edition of this book came about, which leads into a discussion about the current approach to fairy tales and children’s stories in both academia and the publishing industry.

Other topics of conversation include the problem with reducing stories down to a moral, story as mystery, the place of fairy tales in classical education, and the Biblical literacy of the authors of fairy tales. Dr. Guroian also shares his thoughts on people like John Ruskin and Rudyard Kipling. Finally, he shares some suggestions on finding good editions of fairy tale collections. (Scroll down for links to his book recommendations.)

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Commonplace Quotes:

It seems to me appropriate, almost inevitable, that when that great Imagination which in the beginning, for Its own delight and for the delight of men and angels and (in their proper mode) of beasts, had invented and formed the whole world of Nature, submitted to express Itself in human speech, that speech should sometimes be poetry. For poetry too is a little incarnation, giving body to what had been before invisible and inaudible.

C. S. Lewis, from Reflections on the Psalms

Reason is the natural organ of truth, but imagination is the organ of meaning.

C. S. Lewis

Inertia has served them so well that they did not know how to relinquish it.

E. M. Forster, from Pharos and Pharillon

“Happy children,” say I, “who could blunder into the very heart of the will of God concerning them, and do the thing at once that the Lord taught them, using the common sense which God had given and the fairy tale nourished!” The Lord of the promise is the Lord of all true parables and all good fairy tales.

George MacDonald, from The Elect Lady

The Spring

By Thomas Carew

Now that the winter's gone, the earth hath lost
Her snow-white robes, and now no more the frost
Candies the grass, or casts an icy cream
Upon the silver lake or crystal stream;
But the warm sun thaws the benumbed earth,
And makes it tender; gives a sacred birth
To the dead swallow; wakes in hollow tree
The drowsy cuckoo, and the humble-bee.
Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring
In triumph to the world the youthful Spring.
The valleys, hills, and woods in rich array
Welcome the coming of the long'd-for May.
Now all things smile, only my love doth lour;
Nor hath the scalding noonday sun the power
To melt that marble ice, which still doth hold
Her heart congeal'd, and makes her pity cold.
The ox, which lately did for shelter fly
Into the stall, doth now securely lie
In open fields; and love no more is made
By the fireside, but in the cooler shade
Amyntas now doth with his Chloris sleep
Under a sycamore, and all things keep
Time with the season; only she doth carry
June in her eyes, in her heart January.

Book List:

Tending the Heart of Virtue, 2nd Edition by Dr. Vigen Guroian

Reflections on the Psalms by C. S. Lewis

Pharos and Pharillon by E. M. Forster

The Elect Lady by George MacDonald

The King of the Golden River by John Ruskin

The Lost Princess or The Wise Woman by George MacDonald

The Victorian Fairy Tale Book ed. by Michael Patrick Hearn

The Classic Fairy Tales ed. by Iona and Peter Opie

The Classic Fairy Tales ed. by Maria Tatar

Brothers Grimm: Selected Tales trans. by David Luke

The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm trans. by Jack Zipes

Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories trans. by Erik Christian Haugaard

Den Lille Havfrue og andre historier/The Little Mermaid and Other Stories by Hans Christian Andersen, trans. by Tony J. Richardson

Hans Christian Anderson: Fairy Tales trans. by Tina Nunnally

“Fairy Tale Wars” by Vigen Guroian

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