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  • From the Editors

The immediate impetus for publishing a special issue on erotic fairy tales came from a panel devoted to that topic at the 2005 annual meeting of the American Folklore Society (AFS). The four panelists who organized that session—Jeana Jorgensen, Sarah Lash, Linda J. Lee, and Adam Zolkover—were responding to a state of affairs that Jorgensen has recently articulated in an encyclopedia entry on “Erotic Tales”: “Although there is a wealth of scholarship available on fairy tales, little of it pertains explicitly to sexual identities and relations, despite the fact that erotic tales have long played a significant role in the literary tradition” (The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales, ed. Donald Haase [Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2008] 1: 306).

Given developments in the study of fairy tales over the last forty years—in particular the attention that has been paid to gender and sexuality—it is not surprising that growing interest in the erotic fairy tale and in the erotics of the fairy tale has stimulated scholars to address these topics more explicitly. What is surprising, however, is that this arousal of interest has been so long in coming. While the field has certainly not been devoid of work engaging questions of erotic desire, fairy-tale studies in general has been slow to address the subject directly.

Still, promising developments are evident. In taking our lead from the AFS panel and developing this special issue, we encountered other scholars who were producing important research on erotic tales. That work is represented in the pages that follow. Cristina Bacchilega’s preface frames the topic and the contributions to this special issue in more detail. The editors offer this issue of Marvels & Tales in the hope that it will generate fruitful discussion and new work. [End Page 11]



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