You are here

German fairy tales by women writers: a collection in translation by undergraduate Eve Mason

30 July 2020

Eve Mason, Queen’s undergraduate, is publishing five previously untranslated German fairy tales by women writers in a book, A String of Pearls, funded by the Oxford German department and Lidl. As well as the tales appearing here in English for the first time, the edition will be illustrated by professional artist Susan Sansome and will include an introduction by Eve and a foreword by Oxford academic Dr Joanna Neilly, author of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Orient: Romantic Aesthetics and the German Imagination (2016).

Eve is about to commence her final year studying English and German, and won the inaugural Lidl Year Abroad Project Prize this year for her fairy tale translation project. The original scope of the project was to publish these fairy tales on a blog, Feminist Fairy Tales in Germany, but Eve has since expanded its aims and will be self-publishing them in book form this autumn, with help and support from Oxford tutors. Her project aims to recover and revitalize some of the lost voices of the hundreds of German women who wrote and published fairy tales in the nineteenth century but have since been forgotten, women who used the genre as a subversive vehicle for critique of patriarchal values and conventions, such as the importance of marriage and the denial of education to women.

We meet the conventional adventurous children, wicked queens, handsome princes and talking animals, but also some figures that don’t seem quite so familiar: a wise, educated ruling queen; a powerful, vengeful nymph who we see in the illustration below; and not a knight in shining armour, but a brave young woman ready to save a sleeping prince.

If you would like to reserve a copy from the first limited print-run, please contact Eve. Each copy will be £4.99 + P&P (but Eve can probably deliver copies within Oxford without postage costs) for a beautifully illustrated paperback edition. Payment will be arranged in the autumn once the books are printed. Please get in touch at astringofpearls2020@gmail.com for more details.

The illustration is from A String of Pearls, © Susan Sansome.

A powerful, vengeful nymph from one of the tales - illustration by Susan Sansome