Carl Offterdingen, Cinderella at ball, detail

Cinderella on her way to the ball

Offterdinger, Cinderella, To the ball

Carl Offterdinger


Offterdinger, Cinderella at midnight

And a bird overhead sang Follow
And a bird to the right sang Here,
And the arch of the leaves was hollow
And the meaning of May was clear.
    Algernon Charles
  Swinburne (1837-1909)
    An Interlude
ODQ 524 : 8

Carl Offterbingen, Cinderella at the ball

Fairy Tale and Pride and Prejudice


Trying to shoehorn Miss Austen's two-hundred-year-old Novel into the template of the plot of what might be the world's most famous Fairy Tale — humble Cinderella snaring the elusive and highly sought Prince Charming — should be both obvious, and easy.   But is neither.

Other than the fact of the encounter at the ball, there is almost no overt similarity between the two stories.   (Except in film, which throws a glaring spotlight onto the outward aspects of Austen's plot, but is unable to reveal any part of the essential inner meaning.)   Which is not to say that Pride and Prejudice is unlike any Fairy Tale;  only that it is not particularly similar to Cinderella.

The shoe fits!

Carl Offterbingen, The shoe fits!

The Novel not so well

I have discovered with dismay that no less than three related but different and separate perspectives are required in order to examine Pride and Prejudice in this section, and I fervently hope that what is a fascinating investigation for me doesn't become unalloyed drudgery for the reader/viewer of these webpages.

And so to begin by enumerating the ways in which Pride and Prejudice the Novel lines up with my system of definitions of Fairy Tale characteristics, as mentioned above.   There has to be meaning in the fact that a Novel is still popular two hundred years after its first publication — and what better reason than that it shares certain essential features of a typical Fairy Tale?

*   *   *   *   *

Now to investigate the particular chosen Fairy Tale with which to compare the Novel, and it isn't Cinderella.

[Note that all illustrations on this page are by the marvellous Carl Offterdinger].

[July 2007, text only
    WebPage last amended February 22nd, 2013]


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