“Almost wholly the work of Mrs. Lang”: Nora Lang, Literary Labour, and the Fairy Books

Andrea Day
  • Women s Writing, September 2017, Taylor & Francis
  • DOI: 10.1080/09699082.2017.1371938

Andrew Lang Didn't Write the Fairy Books: Giving Nora Lang the Credit She Deserves

What is it about?

The Fairy Books, a popular turn-of-the-century children’s series, were the first English-language collections of traditional stories from around the world, and they continue to influence the way we read fairy tales today. The series is often attributed to the anthropologist and writer Andrew Lang, but his wife, the translator and author Leonora Blanche “Nora” Lang, actually did most of the work. By examining advertisements for the series and Andrew’s own prefaces to each book through a feminist lens, this article explains why Nora's contributions to the Fairy Books have been largely ignored for over a century.

Why is it important?

This article changes our understanding of the Fairy Books, a popular and influential children's series, and argues for Nora Lang's rightful place in literary history. Investigating why the Fairy Books are often not read as Nora's work can help us more fully understand the Fairy Book series, the marketing of children's literature, and the ways in which women's authorship is minimized.

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The following have contributed to this page: Andrea Day and Andrea Day