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Marvels & Tales 17.2 (2003) 284-285
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SurLaLune Fairy Tale Pages.Heidi Anne Heiner. 11 April 2003. <http://www.surlalunefairytales.com>.
In 1998 then-graduate student Heidi Anne Heiner launched SurLaLune. In the subsequent five years, SurLaLune has developed into a valuable and fascinating resource/clearinghouse for scholars, students, and the general public interested in folktales and fairy tales and their illustrations. The site is visually attractive, easy to navigate, and provides a myriad of quick-loading links to additional information, to other Internet sites, to hard-to-find illustrations, and more. Heiner states in her bio section that she does not make a profit from the site (although she has associated it with Amazon.com and Art.com to help defray her expenses in hosting the site) and she allows individuals and classes to link to the site free of charge (she does not reciprocally list those who do link with SurLaLune).
The site is an evolving work in progress and is divided into three parts. Part one, "Frontmatter," contains basic attempts to define the fairy-tale form (Heiner's own, Zipes's, Tolkien's, etc.); a general introduction to folklore study; FAQs about the site, and access to the "Fairy Tale Bookstore," which seems to be a selection of Heiner's favorites (in and out of print). One needn't spend a great amount of time here, unless one is a true neophyte to the field or is looking to purchase books.
Part two, "The Annotated Tales," is Heiner's primary concern. Here she provides reliable textual versions of twenty-six "classic" western tales, primarily but not exclusively taken from Perrault, Grimm, and Andersen. Each tale is adorned with vertical sidebars featuring key illustrations from past as well as current editions; each of the thumbnail illustrations can be enlarged and many lead to other selections of images by the artist. For me, these links were seductive: I found images that I had never seen before--Harry Clarke for Sleeping Beauty, for instance, and a number of other fine illustrators past and present with whom I was not familiar. Heiner carefully addresses issues of copyright for these images in her FAQ section. The "annotation" of the tales themselves is internal; that is, key words, phrases, plot events, etc., are blue and link to capsule discussions of the term, theme, or concept. Sometimes the annotations are historical/cultural, sometimes they deal with motif typing, and sometimes they are academic discussions; the material seems to be quite reliable. In each case, Heiner provides enough information in the capsule for the interested reader to probe further. Her critical predilections seem to run, though again not exclusively, to Jungian archetypal criticism (von Franz) and Marxist theory (the ubiquitous Zipes). Not all of the twenty-six tales have yet been annotated, and it is not clear in what ways Heiner may wish ultimately to expand the annotations--more Grimms? non-Eurocentric tales? contemporary tales? feminist retellings?
Part three, "Appendix," contains a miscellany of material related somehow [End Page 284] to fairy tales. There is a very useful site on illustration past and present (sorted by illustrator's name or tale title) and a complete version of Il Pentamerone with illustrations by Warwick Goble and George Cruikshank. But the most interesting sections of part three are the discussion groups, which are hosted under EZBoard (one need not register with EZBoard to post, apparently). The discussions are asynchronous postings related to a theme, issue, or question raised by visitors to SurLaLune. Several current discussions run at the same time and past discussions are accessible through SurLaLune's archives. As one might expect, the postings range from the highly informed to the novice's question, but in general they seem thoughtful and respectful--this is not a cheap chat room. For instance, six months or so ago a student asked me about the recurring motif of cannibalism in folk- and fairy tales; I searched in Google and was led to a discussion group (my first visit to SurLaLune, by the way) and discovered over twenty pages of responses to cannibalism--they weren...