Across Enchanted Lands

Rare Books and Special Collections at UBC Library is delighted to announce a new exhibition: Across Enchanted Lands: Universal Motifs in Illustrated Fairy Tales.

Many thanks to guest bloggers Renée Gaudet, Karen Ng, and Ashlynn Prasad for contributing the below post! Renée, Karen, and Ashlynn are graduate students at UBC’s iSchool (School of Library, Archival and Information Studies) and curated this delightful new exhibition under the supervision of Professor Kathie Shoemaker.

Our exhibition, Across Enchanted Lands: Universal Motifs in Illustrated Fairy Tales, showcases various themes and archetypes common in fairy tales, with particular attention to the ways in which those themes appear in stories from a variety of cultures. While many of the archetypes highlighted – including peril, romance, and fairies and little folk – may be familiar to consumers of modern-day fairy tales, the exhibition also features characteristics common to early fairy tales that have since changed and evolved.

Student curators Renée Gaudet, Karen Ng, and Ashlynn Prasad

Across Enchanted Lands comprises just a small portion of the vast collection of children’s literature housed at UBC’s Rare Books and Special Collections, and also includes some items from the Education Library. Part of the strength of these materials is the fact that they span the course of hundreds of years, which allows for the exploration of illustration styles from different eras of fairy tales and the ways in which certain fairy tales have evolved over time. The illustrations highlighted here showcase both the beauty and light side of fairy tales as well as some of the darker and sinister undertones that often creep up in these narratives. In this way, Across Enchanted Lands offers a well-rounded perspective on the history of the modern fairy tale and the various roles the fairy tale genre has played in different cultures.

Across Enchanted Lands is located partly in the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room and partly on level 2 of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. On level 2, the cases cover the following themes: Global Fairy Tales; Cinderella and Red Riding Hood Across Cultures; Not for Children; Powerful Women; Pop-Up and Interactive Books; Illustration Styles; and Abodes. On the first floor in the Rare Books and Special Collections reading room are Beautiful Books; Canonical Writers; Global Fairy Tales; Cinderella Across Cultures; Fairies and Little Folk; Animals; Mythological Creatures; Peril; and Romance. The cases work together and inform one another in order to provide a well-rounded picture of the many essential archetypes and motifs that have made fairy tales so iconic.

Across Enchanted Lands: Universal Motifs in Illustrated Fairy Tales is on display from March 1 through May 30, 2019. The exhibition is free and open to the public, and people of all ages are encouraged to attend. For more information, please contact Rare Books and Special Collections at (604) 822-2521 or rare.books@ubc.ca.