They arrived there one moonlit night, and rode slowly along the seashore, the princess wrapped up in the prince’s big cape. She lifted a corner of the cape and looked down at the sand. ‘How strange,’ she said, with a smile on her face. ‘Looking at the shadow, one would think there was only one rider on the horse.’
From ‘The Ring’ by Helena Nyblom

It sometimes seems as if the word ‘romantic’ has come to imply something unrealistic and outdated – an insult, really.
But aren’t the dreams and values portrayed in fairy tales, novels, poetry, music, and movies, the same dreams and values that are still able to send a shiver down the spine?
Do you have to possess something to value it, or strive after it?
Love; morality; good; beauty; courage; adventure; wit; wealth; strength; magic; cunning; honour. I don’t believe these things become outdated, and I don’t believe everything has to be done in a new way to be of value ‘in our time’.
Some things are in our blood – let’s cherish them.

Eva Weggelaar
Illustration: John Bauer


2 thoughts on “On fairy tales and romance – do things become old-fashioned?

  1. Current use of Romance in popular culture and mass media marketing has ruined the word. Fairy Tale has similar problems. They have become associated with an idealized narrow interpretation of love and gender roles. I often use the term faerie to distinguish from the boxed in usage of fairy tale.

    In the past, a Jules Verne novel was called a Science Romance. Romance referring to a long adventure narrative featuring exotic locations and mystery. Somewhere along the way, Romance, as a genre, turned into narratives about idealized ( to the point of being unrealistic, rather than symbolic) love & relationships targeted at women. Similarly, the fairy tale was reduced to a fantasy adventure aimed at children, with the it being further broken into the Princess tale that was melded to the Romance.

    As you point out, as society finds the viewpoint of that type of Romance and Fairy Tale out of date and restrictive, they reject the terms, rather than returning the terms to the wider more inclusive meanings that you presented in this post.


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