The Princess Problem (A Fairy Tale Romance Book 2)

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I include these collections of familiar fairy tales so that readers can become acquainted with the motifs. While I have included print copies of the collections here, many of these fairy tales may be found online. Because scholars debate the definition of a fairy tale and the intricacies of oral versus literary traditions, I have chosen to rely on existing collections to help provide a common definition for those unfamiliar with fairy tales.

For the purposes of this project, I have kept my definition of a fairy tale brief: a hero or heroine, sometimes conceived by magical means, enters the world, faces obstacles, and overcomes them. The story often involves magic, adventure, transformation, and results in a happy ending, although a wedding is not required.


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The Brothers Grimm. Jack Zipes. New York: Bantam Books, Lang published hundreds of fairy tales in the 12 books that comprise this series. While the series also draws on the work of Perrault and the Grimm Brothers, Lang gathered fairy tales from around the world. Perrault, Charles.

The Complete Fairy Tales. Christopher Betts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, Each of the fairy tales and romances referenced in this bibliography has been studied by scholars, some quite extensively.

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Rather than list all of the criticism for each individual item, I have chosen to include a list of general works that help begin the comparison of fairy tale and romance narratives. Aarne, Antti, and Stith Thompson. Helsinki: Academia Scientiarum Fennica, This work attempts to list and catalog a variety of fairy tale types and motifs. It shows the relationship between some tales, the overlapping of tropes, and possible other locations of tale variants. While no list of motifs can ever be complete, this collection represents a starting point for seeing the labels folklorists use.

Bettelheim, Bruno. Reprint, New York: Vintage Books, Of particular use may be his discussions of Cinderella and Jack stories.


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Cooper, Helen. Oxford, Oxford University Press, Cooper concentrates on the romance as a genre of medieval and early modern literature, and her work does not focus on fairy tales. Instead, she develops the idea of a narrative meme and assesses how romance motifs changed over time. The work represents a starting point for those who wish to focus heavily on early romances.

15 Fairy Tale Retellings That Live Up to the Hype

Frye, Northrop. A useful consideration of romance and folktale tropes and how to approach the romance genre. Kline and his contributors wish to study the line between entertainment and didacticism in medieval literature while also exploring what texts may have been accessed by children of the medieval era. His volume includes excerpts of the primary texts and essays offering an analysis of each piece.

Modern Fairy Tales for Teen Girls

This collection is dedicated to medieval folklore and literature and can be used by beginning and advanced scholars alike. Each folklore trope listed contains information about the texts it appears in, its historical and literary context, and potential influence. Peck, Russell A.

The Cinderella Bibliography. The Camelot Project at the University of Rochester. This collection of resources, revisions, and adaptations of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast contains an extremely useful section on fairy tale criticism and a section of early sources of Cinderella, several of which are medieval romances.

Propp, Vladimir. Morphology of the Folktale. Laurence Scott. Austin: University of Texas Press, A controversial work claiming to map a structure for fairy tales. Rosenberg, Bruce A. Thomas J. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, Rosenberg searches for the meeting place between folklore and medieval literature.

He suggests that the medieval audience had a vast understanding of folklore and that many medieval romances contain similar narrative episodes. He believes considering folk literature as a source for the romances reveals much about authorial intent and archetype. He also stresses the importance of considering if the tales circulated at the same time as the romances and indicates that knowledge of the tales can help with understanding the more complex narratives. Folklore and Literature: Rival Siblings.

In this work, Rosenberg expands his discussion of the overlap between folktales and medieval literature with a discussion of relevant folklore studies and literary theory. While not focused on individual fairy tales, it offers a place to start for scholars who wish to explore this intersection.

For each of the motifs below, I have included a basic definition of the motif and an example of a fairy tale that employs the trope before listing works where Middle English versions of the motif appears. I have then provided a sampling of modern English and K appropriate items when available. This trope occurs in many Middle English romances where a hero or heroine must endure pain and suffering. A variety of animals, including lions, griffins, leopards, and unicorns, steal children. The children are usually rescued by someone else or provided for by God until a later reunion. The incidents usually help drive the plot.

Sir Eglamour of Artois. Harriet Hudson. When Cristabelle, the heroine of this romance, is cast adrift after her father learns that she has given birth to an illegitimate child, a griffin steals the baby, Degrebelle, after mother and child wash ashore. Later, the son wins his mother in combat, and her recognition of the griffin on his equipment prevents incest.

Sir Isumbras.

SurLaLune Fairy Tales

The hero of this romance agrees to suffer for his sins during his youth, and he loses everything, including his three children, who are stolen by a lion, a leopard, and a unicorn. The children will reappear riding on the animals that stole them when they help their father fight Saracens. When the empress is exiled after her husband falsely accuses her of adultery, her children are stolen by a lioness and an ape.

Octavian, her son stolen by the lioness, will be reunited with his mother shortly thereafter, but Florent, the son stolen by the ape, is rescued by a knight and has a much longer path to his reconciliation. Armor as a Sign of Spiritual Purity A knight who needs either to prove himself in battle or to prove his redeemed state will enter a series of three battles over the course of three days. Each day, his clothing will reflect the new state of his reputation and his soul. Sir Gowther.

Anne Laskaya and Eve Salisbury. In this romance, a half-demon attains sainthood due to his extreme penance and defense of Christianity. As Gowther, the main character, fights in three important battles, his armor changes from black, to red, to white, reflecting his redemptive process. Marijane Osborn. Peterborough, ON: Broadview Press, Because the romance includes several instances of sexual violence, it is best reserved for advanced students.

Cinderella and 5 more Princess Stories - Fairy Tales and Bedtime Stories for Kids

The trope requires the testing of courage and honor. A variant of this motif can be seen in the Buffet Game, where warriors exchange blows. In fairy tales, this trope can shift. Instead of a test of strength, a character must behead an animal or other figure who has helped him or her, thereby revealing their honor or gratitude, and often the character must be compelled to act correctly. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.