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Fairy Tale Illustrators - Anne Anderson

 Public Domain images Courtesy of Grandma's Graphics

Anne Anderson (1874—26 May 1952)

Anne (Annie) Anderson was a Scottish illustrator known primarily for art nouveau style children’s book illustrations. She was also an etcher, designer of greetings cards and a watercolour painter.

Born in Scotland in 1874, Anne spent her childhood in Argentina with her parents, James and Grace, and her four brothers and one sister. She left Argentina on reaching adulthood and found work in England. In 1910 she was able to afford to buy her a cottage 
with her earnings in Burghfield Common, Berkshire. She married the artist Alan Wright in June 1912. They collaborated on many of the books she illustrated; he would draw the birds and animals. 

There is some debate as to the date of her death. Some sources list her death in the 1930, while there are those that state she died in 1936. Yet there are others that claim she was still alive after the Second World War. However, there is an entry in the Berkshire Burial index for a married artist named Annie Wright aged 76, on 29th May 1952. It states she had resided in Burghfield Common.

Amongst the many children’s books she illustrated were the following fairy tale books:
      • Briar Rose Book Of Old Old Fairy Tales -London. T.C. & E.C. Jack Ltd. Approx. 1920
      • Anderson Fairy-Tale Book - London: T. Nelson & Sons, 1923
      • Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales - London; Glasgow: Collins Clear-Type Press 1924
      • A Series of Fairy Tales - Nelson 1928
      • The Fairy Tale Omnibus - Collins 1929
      • Old, Old Fairy Tales - New York, Thomas Nelson & Sons, n.d

If you are interested in taking a look or even purchasing art prints of Anne Anderson’s illustrations there’s a charming website here:

Please note I have no affiliation with the website.

Anne Anderson images (Public Domain) courtesy of Wikipedia/

© Paula M. Hunter

Snow White's Origins

Public Domain

Snow White is a German fairy tale which was known across much of Europe. Now it is one of the most famous fairy tales worldwide. It was published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812 in the first edition of their collection, simply titled: Grimms’ Fairy Tales. In German the tale was titled Sneewittchen. Sneewittchen went through various revisions until 1854. At first it had been regarded as a fictional tale, until research suggested otherwise. 

Image : Schneewittchen Franz Juttner - 1910 Public Domain image wikimedia commons:

Margaretha von Waldeck


AxelHH at German Wikipedia / Public domain:

The story of Margaretha von Waldeck is first real life story that may have inspired the tale of Snow White. In 1994, the German historian Eckhard Sander published Snow White: Fairy Tale or True Story? He claimed he had uncovered an account that may have inspired the Grimm fairy tale. 

Margaretha von Waldeck was the daughter of Philip IV, Count of Waldeck-Wildungen, born 1493 and died 1574, and his first wife, Margaret Cirksena, born 1500 and died 1537, daughter of Edzard I, Count of East Frisia. According to the Bad Wildungen city documents, she was a famous beauty. From the year 1539 she had a very strict stepmother, Katharina von Hatzfeld (1510 -1546). At that time Margaretha lived in Weilburg at the court of Philip III, Count of Nassau-Weilburg. In 1545, she travelled through Siebengebirge (seven hills) to live with her mother’s brother Johann Cirksena at Valkenburg castle, which is now known as Limburg in the Netherlands. Later in 1549 she was sent by her father to the Brussels court of Mary of Hungary, to the governor of the Habsburg Netherlands and sister of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. Margaretha’s presence at court was meant to improve the relations with the emperor and help secure the release of Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, who had been imprisoned in Brussels for his role in the Schmalkaldic War.

However, the situation in court became complicated as several high ranking men sought the hand of  Margaretha, including Lamoral, Count of Egmont. He arrived in court from Spain in 1549.  As she was Lutheran and Lamoral Catholic her parents refused his request to marry Margaretha. However, as most of Netherlands was Catholic at that time it wasn’t a viable excuse. It would seem that her father wished for her to marry for political connections in Netherlands. A move to Spain with Lamoral, would not suit his political agenda.

Margaretha died at the age of 21 in March 1554. The three surviving letter she sent to her father show that her health had steadily declined over the time. In the Waldeck chronicles it was suggested that she had been poisoned. Around the time of her death, an old man had been caught giving out apples laced with poisonous nightshade to children. However, since her father’s second wife died in 1546 and he only remarried again in October 1554, her stepmother was never suspected in the alleged poisoning.

Margaretha’s  father owned several copper minds, many of the workers were children, giving reference to the seven dwarfs. The child workers lived in groups of about 20 in a single room house. The residence of the dwarfs has been suggested to be the former mining village of Bergfreiheit, which is now a district of Bad Wildungen, which calls itself the Snow White Village


Maria Sophia von Erthal

Another real life tale is that of Maria of Maria Sophia von Erthal, who was born on the 15th June 1729 in Lohr am Main in Bavaria, Germany.  She was the daughter of Prince Philipp Christoph von Erthal, a landowner and his wife, Baroness von Bettendorff. After the death of his wife the prince married Claudia Elisabeth Maria von Venningen, Countess of Rechenstein. It was said that she disliked her stepchildren. The castle where they lived, which is now a museum, was home to a mirror that was famous for its smooth and even surface. Apparently this is something that was uncommon in that period. They referred to it as the “talking mirror,” because “it always spoke the truth” (this mirror is also in the museum). The mirror was manufactured in 1720 in Lohr. The left side of the mirror has the words “self love” etched into it. It had been in the house at the time Maria’s stepmother lived there.

The dwarfs are again linked to a mining town, Bieber, located west of Lohr and lays amongst seven mountains. The mine tunnels could only be accessed by short miners, they often wore bright red hoods. The glass coffin may be linked to the regions famous glassworks and the poisoned apple’s association may be with the deadly nightshade poison that grows in abundance in the Lohr.

Greek and Roman Mythology

KHIONE (Chione) was a nymph of Mount Haimos (Haemus) in Thrake (north of Greece). She was a daughter of Boreas, god of the north-wind, and Oreithyia, the lady of mountain gales. Khione is thought to be the goddess of snow (khiôn).She became by Poseidon the mother of Eumolpus, and in order to conceal the event, she threw the boy into the sea; but the child was saved by Poseidon

Scholar Graham Anderson compares the story of Snow White to the Roman legend of Chione, recorded in Ovid's Metamorphoses. The name Chione means "Snow" in Greek and, in the story, she is described as the most beautiful woman in the land, so beautiful that the gods Apollo and Mercy both fell in love with her. Mercury put her to sleep with the touch of his caduceus.

All uncredited  images are licensed purchased stock photos. 

What is a Fairy Tale?


Afairy tale/faerie tale is a short story, in oral or literary form, mainly with origins in European traditions, although many of today’s fairy tales have evolved from centuries old stories, from multiple cultures, with variations dating back thousands of years. The tales vary from legends and fables. Legends are perceived as real, but are unauthentic traditional stories which are regarded as historical i.e. the legend of King Arthur. Conversely, fables are stories used to convey a moral and usually contain an inanimate object or animals e.g. the tortoise and the hare, from Aesop’s fables. Fairy tales fall within the genre of folklore and often include mythical creature such as: dwarfs, dragons, elves, fairies, giants, gnomes, goblins, griffins, mermaids, talking animals, trolls, unicorns, or witches, and usually magic or enchantments.

Gerda and the Ravens by Anne Anderson
Public Domain
The tales were first described as “fairy tales,” by Madame d'Aulnoy in the late 17th century. The Brothers Grimm were among the first to collect fairy stories from their oral origins, which had been handed down from generation to generation and perhaps over the years had changed somewhat from the original. The Grimm brothers German fairy tales published in 1812 and 1815, were far removed from the “sanitised” Grimm fairy tales we see today. They were quite grim and gruesome and not the kind of stories you would want to read to your children at bedtime. They rewrote the tales to make them more acceptable, increasing their popularity and sales. Later Hans Christan Andersen’s work would draw heavily from folklore and included fairy tale elements in his original tales.

Until the 19th and 20th century, adults were the original intended audience of a fairy tale, particularly in literary works of Madame d’ Aulnoy and Charles Perrault. Fairy tales were often used to teach children important lessons. Famous people commented on the importance of fairy tales, especially for children. Albert Einstein showed how important he believed fairy tales were for children’s intelligence in the quote “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

©Paula M. Hunter

Well Versed

What is poetry?

Poetry or verse; as it is sometimes known, is defined; as "a literary work which expresses feelings, ideas and emotions, with the use of a distinctive style or rhythm".
The word Poetry comes from the Greek word Poiesis, which literally means Poetry.
The ancient Greeks developed different genres of poetry, in particular the Epic genre which was made famous by Homer's Odyssey and Iliad.
Playwright and poet William Shakespeare is called England's national poet.
There are more than 50 different forms of poetry :  Verse, Rhyming, Ballad, Haiku, Limericks, Odes and Sonnets.

So how does poetry fit into today's world and does it have a place in popular culture? We shall explore this, and I will also be sharing with you an original poem.

Photograph - Books on a shelf - courtesy of
I own the copyright to my original poetry.

Modernist Poetry Time for Change

Modernist poetry emerged at the beginning of the 20th century and was written until 1950. Modernist poets believed that Victorian poetry was excessive and they wished to bring poetry to the ordinary person.  Their model for poetry was Chinese and Japanese poetry and Greek literature.
One of the Famous Modernist poets is T.S.Eliot (Thomas Stearns Eliot) one of his best known poems is The Waste Land (written in 1922).

T.S. Eliot's book; Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, a collection of his poems about cats was the inspiration for Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats. The character Grizabella in the musical Cats was taken from T.S.Eliot's unpublished drafts of the book.

T.S. Eliot Courtesy of  Wikimedia Commons

 Contemporary Poetry The Modern Poet

In the late 1950's the modernist movement's popularity started to wane, the era of the Contemporary poet began. In the 1962 the publishing company Penguin published "The New Poetry" by the British poet and novelist A. Alvarez.  It featured an anthology of three British contemporary poets, the work of the poets focused on serious subjects.  It featured the work of Lawrence Durrell, Elizabeth Jennings and R.S. Thomas The book was printed in paperback to make it more cost effective and affordable to readers. It was a commercial success, thus creating an interest in contemporary poetry.
Another successful contemporary poet at that time, was British playwright and children's author Ted Hughes. His first successful poetry collection was Hawk In The Rain (1957). He became British Poet Laureate In 1984.

Ted Hughes was married to American poet Sylvia Plath, she was a Confessional poet, this style of poetry was associated with work published in the late 1950's - 1960's. Confessional poetry is autobiographical and touches on the sensitive subjects of depression, alcoholism, infidelity and controversial subjects of suicide and drug abuse. Such subject were seen as shocking to the mainstream poetry critics.

The poets who's Confessional poems caused quite a stir were; Robert Lowell (Life Studies -1959), W.D. Snodgrass (Hearts Needle - 1960) Anne Sexton (To Bedlam and Part Way Back - 1962) and John Berryman (The Dream Songs -1969)

Sylvia Plath's last work of Confessional poetry was Ariel which was published posthumously in 1966; she committed suicide in 1963 at the age of 30.  Anne Sexton and John Berryman also ended their own lives, they both suffered from depression and alcoholism.

The influences of the Confessional poetry movement are still seen today.

Lawrence Durrell [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 The Limerick 

The Limerick was a traditional rhyming song, it originally started in the pubs of Ireland. It takes its' name from the city of Limerick in the south west of Ireland.
The Limerick eventually became a humorous poem, which follows a distinctive pattern.

Photograph - St. Johns' Castle Limerick byD Johnston [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Slam Poetry 

Photograph By Heinrich Böll Stiftung from Berlin, Deutschland  [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Slam Poetry Poetry for a new generation.

Marc Smith started the first Poetry Slam in 1986, it was an open mic event at the Get Me High Lounge in Chicago. The U.S. had its' first National Poetry Slam in San Francisco in 1990.
So, what is a Poetry Slam?

 A Poetry Slam is a competition, poets recite original work (usually referred to as slam poetry) in front of a live audience and each performance is judged by chosen members of the audience. The performances are judged on a points scale of 1 -10.

The competitors have to follow a set of rules i.e. the performance must not exceed three minutes, no music and props or costumes are allowed. Some competitions allow strong language others do not.
Various themes, styles and cultural traditions also play a part in the Slam Poetry compositions; Dub and Reggae poetry stems from the oral traditions of recited poetry in the West Indies.

Some performances are stylised on Hip Hop, which has its' roots in Dub poetry, other performers prefer a more theatrical or natural presentation. Poetry Slams are now performed in countries all over the world.

This poem is about something we have very little of in our busy lives: 


Time is now, time goes fast,
Time's not living in the past.
Time to stay, time to go,
Moving with the ebb and flow.
Hurry now no time to spare,
No time yet to really care.

Time is moving, time is short,
Time's not doing what it ought.
Time is passing, time’s gone by,
Watching how the years do fly.
Quickly now, no time to waste,
Move along now, must make haste.

Time don't go, time please wait,
Time has no time to love or hate.
Time has gone, time is out,
Without a shadow of a doubt.
Marching on no time to debate,
Now's not the time to procrastinate.

The Raven 

How a classic poem inspired Pop Culture

The Raven a poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, was written and published in 1845. It became popular soon after publication. It is a narrative poem about a young man who has been rejected by his love Lenore and he is lamenting her loss.

Whilst alone in his room he hears a rapping on the window of his room, open opening the window a raven enters the room and sits upon a bust of Pallas, just above his room's door.  The man talks to the raven, the bird only replies with the word "nevermore", this word causes the young man much distress.  The poem ends with the man descending into grief and madness.

The poem has been much reprinted and parodied in newspaper and magazines over the years. The Raven's influence can be found in films T.V and music here are a few examples :

The 1963 film The Raven by Roger Corman, is a B movie comedy horror. Starring Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff as rival sorcerers. The film is based on references to Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven.
A young Jack Nicholson is included in the supporting cast.
(Image By American International Pictures. (DCGeist at en.wikipedia) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons)

In the 1994 film The Crow, starring Brandon Lee. The main character Eric makes a reference to The Raven, quoting:
"Suddenly, I heard a tapping, as of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door."

In the movie by John Cusack; The Raven. A fictional Poe tries to track down a serial killer.

In an episode of The Simpsons "Tree house of Horror" The Raven is parodied as it is read by Lisa to Maggie and Bart.

Nevermore Summerbreeze2007 06

Nevermore the American Heavy Metal band from Seattle, Washington, took their name from the word repeated by the raven in the poem; "Nevermore."
(Nevermore By Cecil (Own work) [GFDLCC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons)

 The Raven Read by James Earl Jones his YouTube video features James Earl Jones reading The Raven. Listen and enjoy.

 Does poetry have a place in popular culture? 

To answer the question in the introduction: Does poetry have its' place in in popular culture? Yes it does, it has changed and evolved over the centuries and is still popular today as is was in yesteryear. Even though poetry has changed the classics will never be forgot, Homer, Shakespeare and Wordsworth (to name but a few) are still read and loved worldwide.

Poetry has no boundaries, it is found in many forms and cultures, even in cultures were it is strictly forbidden. According to an article in The New York Times online magazine, women in Afghanistan risk death to write poetry, you can read more from this article here.

Why do people write poetry or even risk death to write poetry? My answer is; it is a way to express yourself that can not be done in prose i.e poetry has a way of conveying more emotion, more drama, more passion and even humor.

©Paula M. Hunter

The Perils of Publishing - Part Two

The Zero-Sum Game

Photo by Caio Resende 

When you imagine the life of an author what springs to mind? In my experience, there are those that imagine authors are making huge amounts of money for every book they publish and are living the high-life. Others imagine a struggling artist living on nothing but their imagination and despising the vulgar notion of receiving money for their art. OK, they may be extremes, but there are some truths here. Yes, there are bestselling authors that do rake in the income; however, they are in a tiny minority. There are hobbyists, who do consider their work as non-commercial art. When you consider the number of books published every year. It sure it will come as no surprise to learn that it is difficult to make sales. An article from Ebook Friendly (written in 2017) lists the figures by country. I expect this year those numbers will have increased. (Click on the button link below)
There cannot have been many authors that haven’t toyed with the idea of quitting writing at some point in their career. Low sales figures gloom and doom predictions and the closure of publishing houses don’t help matters. Selling anything in a competitive market is certainly not as easy as falling off a log, as hinted by some of the dubious advice that can be found out there. It’s a big learning curve for new authors and particularly those who self publish. When I first self-published I made a lot of mistakes, hopefully, I have learned from them. I am still learning, in particular how to market my books.

It is a bitter pill to swallow to learn that the manuscripts that you have lovingly slaved over, edited, re-edited, lost sleep over and cost money to produce and market, may only make enough royalties to pay for its production costs. Many authors have a day job, as do I. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to afford to write or pay our bills. The same can be said for traditional published authors, their advances have to be covered. Only when a book surpasses the advance given, will they then be paid more royalties. Those six-figure advances you have read about…they rarely, if at all happen.

After paying for editing, formatting, book covers, and marketing cost, which consists of book promotion sites, Amazon, and Facebook advertising etc, a book already, starts out in the red and in some cases may never recoup those costs. Even a free ebook comes at a cost to the author. Many authors do much of the work themselves and although there are a few ways to promote your book for free, promotional services like BookBub charge a hefty fee. I prefer to format and make my own covers, although I still have to purchase stock photos and I prefer not to edit my own work.

Since Amazon opened up their AMS – Amazon Marketing Services, to self-publishers the promotional playing field changed. Authors are pitted against each other in bidding for the best advertising spots and more often than not the ones with the deepest pockets will win those prized spots. I have tried AMS advertising, albeit on a small budget. I have either broke even or made a loss. I have come to the conclusion that the only one winning here is Amazon. It is said that Books were always going to be a loss leader for them. Hence, the reason why they encourage free and rock bottom priced ebooks. That $0.99 ebook only nets the author a 35% royalty payment.

There are other outgoings too: email-marking providers like Mailchimp etc are free to use if you have a small list. Those with lists over 1500 – 2000 are charged a monthly fee. Instafreebie and BookFunnel provide ways for you to gain subscribers by giving your book away in exchange for a free ebook. If you wish to use them to in promotions to add subscribers to your mail list, this comes with a monthly fee. There are also other useful extras that come with the fee-paying plans. Then there’s the cost of running a website. Google is now recommending website owners purchase/provide an SSL certificate otherwise their websites will be flagged as unsafe. This is of concern to those who have eCommerce merchandise shops on their sites.

If I was cynical I would think of self-publishing little like the gold rush, the ones making the money were those selling the equipment. For many self-published authors, it really is a zero-sum game.

©Paula M. Hunter

The Perils of Publishing - Part One

Author Services

After seeing a discussion in one of my Facebook author groups, I thought it would be a good idea to make a post about the topic being discussed. If this post can help just one person or save them from falling into the trap of rip off author services, it will have served its purpose.

There are many out there who aspire to be a published author. Two ways you can achieve this are traditional publishing or self-publishing. Self-publishing may seem the easier and simpler option, but believe me, it is far from simple. The path to becoming a self-published author or indie author is not easy. There is much to learn, do your research, practice your writing and get feedback from others. This could be by starting a blog or joining a writer's group. Listen and take advice from those you can trust.

Even after you have invested much time and great effort into your work, there is no guarantee of success. Which brings me now to the heart of the matter. Since the advent of self-publishing more and more author services have appeared, all competing to part you from your hard-earned cash. There are legitimate services and many that are not. There are those that are not scams, however, some may make you promises they cannot keep or behave in a predatory manner. They promise to make you: the best selling author, a great writer, offer to promote your book to bestseller status and even those who provide you with a shortcut to becoming a writer by doing the work for you, but at an exorbitant price. You can find editors, developmental editors, proofreaders and ready-made book covers at reasonable prices. Again do your research or ask for recommendations. You could do these things yourself if you have the ability to do so, or find a friend or relative who can. Please be aware that whatever you put out there has got to be of a decent standard. Readers will not forgive you for publishing a bad quality book.

The most shocking thing about some of these services is the fact that they are run by authors. I am not in any way insinuating that they are doing anything illegal. It is in my opinion that they are motivated by making money for themselves and not giving their customers true value for their money. They are selling an illusion to aspiring authors. Believe me, when I say, there are NO shortcuts to success.

If you are interested in using a service, use one tried and tested. Perhaps one that comes recommended by someone you can trust. Research the companies online, check their feedback and ratings. Always err on the side of caution.

    Image: Skitterphoto 
©Paula M. Hunter