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Fairies, Fantasy & Fabulous Royals—Imaginary Friends in our Comfort Cave

FAIRIES, FANTASY, ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS FODDER for our IWSG COMFORT CAVE
MONTHLY HIDEOUT for INSECURE WRITERS—FANTASY or OTHERWISE

Flights of fancy are more than just soaring imagination—away with the fairies

With Flower Fairies of the Spring, a Victorian classic published 1923 illustrated by Cicely Mary Barker (1895-1973), and read by generations of British children, came a late Art Deco/Bohemian breakaway from traditional, classical portrayal of the Faerie realm. Prior to her designs, C.16th Edmund Spenser classic, The Faerie Queene—reputed to have inspired Shakespeare—was traditional English fare.

Victorian myth and local legend combined to fill a child’s imagination

Bohemian Breakaway from Faerie Queene
The Faerie Queene (1590) epic poem by Edmund Spenser (c. 1552–1599), follows the adventures of a group of medieval knights. The poem, written in deliberately archaic style, draws on history and myth—particularly the legends of Arthur, beloved of Brits.

Each book/canto follows the adventures of a knight representing a desirable virtue—holiness, temperance, chastity, friendship, justice, courtesy—each having that quality in him or herself tested by the plot. The Faerie Queene is allegorical—praising Elizabeth I—Gloriana—Faerie Queene herself, the virgin Belphoebe, and Elizabethan notions of virtue. The poem uses contemporary history and politics to celebrate and criticize the Tudor dynasty, twisting religious controversies and reforms of the time under Mary and Elizabeth. Spenser wrote that one of his intentions was that reading his work should ‘fashion a gentleman or noble person in virtuous and gentle disciple’. Yet somehow it satisfies current hunger in movie audiences for historical realism.

Lavender fairy, courtesy Cicely Mary Barker

In Book 2, the knight Guyon reads an old history of Faerieland, which gives Spenser the opportunity to recount a chronicle of British rulers. In Canto 10*, he tells the story of Leyr/Lyr. The story is similar to that told by C.12th historian Geoffrey of Monmouth. In Spenser’s version, Leyr is looking to retire in his old age. After the love test and division of the realm, he weds Gonorill to the king of Scotland, and Regan to the king of Cambria/Wales. Cordeill/Cordelia is sent dowerless to Aganip of Celtica (France). In a gripping ending, dutiful daughter Cordeill restores Leyr to the crown and later inherits it herself; only to be overthrown by her nephews. In Spenser’s version, Cordeill hangs herself, rather than stabbing or cutting herself—and this is probably source of the method of Cordelia’s murder in Shakespeare’s play.
*Stanzas 27–32 (pp. 332–34)

Classic English Rose, High Queen of Summer

Swinging in her scented bower, Wild Rose Fairy is High Queen of Summer, 1925

I am the queen whom everybody knows:
I am the English Rose;
As light and free as any Jenny Wren,
As dear to Englishmen;

Fold on fold of purest white, lovely pink or red that glows; deep, sweet-scented—what delight—to be Fairy of the Rose


As joyous as a Robin Redbreast’s tune,
I scent the air of June;
My buds are rosy as a baby’s cheek;
I have one word to speak,

One word which is my secret and my song,
’Tis “England, England, England” all day long.
Wild Rose Fairy
Cicely Mary Barker, 1925


Royals Rev up in Fabulous Fantasy Fashion

“England, England” may only rarely be shouted by joyful football fans these days, but we are fortunate in our IWSG underground fantasy writing cave—where all intrepid but insecure introvert writers hole up over the holidays to have instant internet access to inspiring full-frontal videos of beautiful young British Royals flaunting a fashion statement in a kingdom relatively unchanged since the 16th century, while at the same time showing us writers a way to keep the flag flying.

HRH Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex at Sandringham for Christmas

HRH Diana, Princess of Wales, who died over twenty years ago under dramatic circumstances, led the then reluctant British monarchy out of their closeted rule-bound protocol existence, venturing across mine-strewn warfields, embracing young unknown admirers in a royal walkabout. Her sons, Princes Wills and Harry, have taken a lead from her. Both their wives, HRH Duchesses of Cambridge and Sussex, left, are encouraged to meet the public, and displays of genuine affection have jumped from royal bedchamber into commoner children’s street life. Diana would have loved all this sharing.

It just happens that our vintage Space Cap’n Alex is a movie maestro—with current historical-realism featuring high on his pick list—Mary, Queen of Scots and The Favourite (elderly spinster Queen Anne) shine light into a royal system unchanged for centuries—until now.

It’s an open secret that Prince Charles is happier in his organic garden than in the throne room. HM the Queen shows no sign of faltering, bless her handbag. Young fairytale princesses in phantom gowns have her approval. And always make us feel better.

May angels surround us through 2019.
New Year resolution? May we expect the unexpected.
©2019 Marian Youngblood

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January 2, 2019 - Posted by | ancient rites, astronomy, birds, calendar customs, consciousness, culture, elemental, fantasy, fiction, nature, publishing, seasonal, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Glad Charles is happy somewhere. At this rate, he’ll be king for a couple days at most – the Queen will live forever.
    Amazing how stories can spawn more stories and inspire even more.

    Comment by Alex J. Cavanaugh (@AlexJCavanaugh) | January 4, 2019 | Reply

    • UR a constant inspiration to us IWSGers in our writing cave, Alex–RU ready for yr Sci-fi #rocket-2-stardom in 2019?

      Comment by siderealview | January 4, 2019 | Reply


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