Do they all live in the same wood?

Building on the real question posed by a four-year old reading Red Riding Hood, I would want to explore the nature of the landscape in which ‘fairy tale’ characters from Western European traditional tales have their adventures. Some of this landscape is represented in older versions by clear topographical features which root the story to particular places – the chalk pits of Tom Tit Tot , or the Blackdown fairy markets discussed by Katharine Briggs. In more recent representations of the landscape in children’s literature, authors have used intertextuality to play with the notions of place. Using insights from ecocriticism, from historical landscape studies such as those by Oliver Rackham, and the study of folk tales from writers such as Jack Zipes and Sandra Beckett, I propose exploring the landscape(s) of Janet and Allan Ahlberg (Each Peach Pear Plum; Jeremiah in the Dark Wood and the Jolly Postman), Lauren Child (Beware of the Storybook Wolves) and other works such as Nicola Smee’s Finish the Story Dad to see
• Whether there are discernible features in the ‘fairy tale’ landscape that suggest a common understanding of that environment;
• Whether an intertexual approach from modern re-authoring of traditional stories enlightens the reader or impoverishes the stories;
• What the agents in the stories do to interact with their environment.

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