On enchantment

On enchantment: why fairytales seem to have captured the public imagination in such a big way recently:

“Perhaps it’s too glib to suggest that, at a moment of economic crisis, the appetite for going back to the basics of fairytales reflects a desire for comforting simplicity, or a response to the strictures of austerity… Or perhaps the reason is altogether more simple. Philip Pullman describes the fairytale as having “no psychology”, but its symbolism is powerful. As Alison Lurie, author and children’s literature expert, says: “Sometimes we need to have the truth exaggerated and made more dramatic, even fantastic, in order to comprehend it.” What rescues the repetition of happy-ever-after from banality is the magic that is used to get there. The settings may be fantastical, but the desired outcomes – recognition for good work done, social and economic security, peace, true love – are not. A handshake down the centuries, fairytales remind us that long ago people wanted exactly the same things as we do today …”