Feminist fairy-tale criticism needs to be revised to incorporate Victorian women authors such as Mary de Morgan, who used the fairy-tale genre to challenge pervasive cultural expectations for women in the nineteenth century. I analyze de Morgan’s fairy tale “The Seeds of Love” in conjunction with contemporary debates on the woman question. I argue that de Morgan used the fairy-tale genre to convey subversive ideas about femininity and marriage, criticizing the patriarchal ideal of marriage as female destiny by revealing the expected happily-ever-after marital bliss to be a lie. De Morgan presents her readers with a realistic, rather than idealized, view of love and marriage, thereby anticipating objections voiced by feminist fairy-tale critics almost a century later.


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pp. 245-264
Launched on MUSE
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