Title: The Rebirth of Rapunzel: a Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower
Author: Kate Forsyth
Date Read: 09/01/2017 – 11/01/2017
Ever since reading Kate Forsyth’s Rapunzel retelling, Bitter Greens, back in 2015, I had been interested in reading more about her doctoral research into Rapunzel. However, I only recently discovered that her exegesis was published last year and that I would be able to get my hands on a copy.
The book is divided into three sections. The first is Forsyth’s “mythic biography” where she describes her research and creative process for writing Bitter Greens. The second section is a translation of Charlotte-Rose de la Force’s Rapunzel fairytale. And the third is a series of articles written by Forsyth for various publications.
The first section was the one I found the most interesting. Forsyth delves into the origin of the “maiden in the tower” motif and looks at different iterations of the story throughout history, from Greek mythology right through to Disney’s Tangled. I did enjoy also hearing about Forsyth’s personal connection to the fairytale and how she eventually came up with the framework for her novel.
The second section was good for context, though the articles in the third section were all somewhat similar and I found myself starting to skim as similar stories got repeated (this wouldn’t have been an issue when they appeared in different publications, but all grouped together like that, the similarities were obvious). It did feel a little bit like these were included to add some extra length to the book.
Having said all that, I would still definitely recommend this for those interested in fairytale re-tellings, as I haven’t come across too many publications on the history of these stories such as this, and this is written in nice accessible language that isn’t too academic and dry.
This review forms part of the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge for 2017. Click here for more information.