Fairy Tales, the children’s literature genre we recognise today for its timeless tales and happy endings, have greatly evolved from their past versions that usually had much more sinister and violent story lines. The exhibition displayed a selection of historical illustrations from notable children’s literature held in the Library’s Special Collections. Looking at these historical texts and illustrations tells us a lot about how these widespread, well-loved stories have transformed over time and diversified throughout history.
Fairy Tales originally emerged from oral story telling traditions where folk tales, legends and other traditional stories were passed down through communities from generation to generation. The earliest versions of literary Fairy Tales in Western European culture emerged throughout the 16th and 17th Centuries, first in Italy by the writers Giovanni Francesco Straparola and Giambattista Basile who collected and compiled oral tales, and then in the France where the genre became popular amongst the aristocracy. The UTS Library holds versions of these early Fairy Tales that can be explored in our Special Collections.