Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

RISE OF THE FANTASY AND FAIRY Y TALE; Prince Charming's Foot Fetish and Stray Wolves in Grandma's Bed: Louise Ridley Discovers Bedtime Stories Have New Bite

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

RISE OF THE FANTASY AND FAIRY Y TALE; Prince Charming's Foot Fetish and Stray Wolves in Grandma's Bed: Louise Ridley Discovers Bedtime Stories Have New Bite

Article excerpt

Byline: Louise Ridley

H, THAT hunky Rob Pattinson.

ONot only is he disturbingly attractive as brooding bloodsucker Edward in the recent Twilight vampire film -- he's made teenage girls read again.

The phenomenal popularity of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books has kept them on Amazon's bestseller lists for well over a year.

Meyer's stories are relatively chaste in terms of actual action but so hormone-charged that it's a wonder teenagers aren't rushing out onto the streets baring their necks for fanged lovers.

Fantasy author Kristina Knight thinks Meyer's older readership may eventually yearn for more: "The sexuality, but not necessarily the sensuality, is absent from those books and I imagine as the readers outgrow the series they might turn to other forms of fantasy fiction."

If you fancy your bedtime reading with a little more bite, so to speak, you might want to thumb through some erotic remakes of fairy tales which are picking up on some of the Twilight hype.

In London-based author Mitzi Szereto's In Sleeping Beauty's Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales, published next month, Prince Charming has a shoe fetish and Little Red Riding Hood discovers Grandma's bed is open to any stray wolf. "And of course there's lovely Rapunzel," says Szereto, "who might at some point want to consider getting a Brazilian."

Many bookshops now have whole sections dedicated to the new genre of "supernatural romance", and Szereto sees fairy tales as a natural companion to vampire literature: "Fairy tales are very heavy on supernatural elements, so they're definitely a happy cousin to vampire stories."

Your eyebrows may raise at the idea of children's literature being made raunchy but Szereto explains the apparent subversion is an added attraction: "The fact that these seemingly childish fairy stories can be played on to such a level -- twisted and warped and given a new life in a very adult fashion -- adds that extra element of naughtiness which pushes it over the top."

In fact, what she and other authors are doing is not so much twisting as returning fairy tale to its roots. The Disneyfication of damsels in distress and their assorted princes and dragons has led us to forget a rather more adult past. In her research, Szereto discovered most fairy tales used to have sexual content but were cleaned up at the time of the Brothers Grimm in the 1800s to serve as moral lessons to children.

So she doesn't see her book as "top shelf reading" but mainstream naughty literature with a scholarly twist -- the University of Derby has even put it on its English reading list, due to the academic introduction to each story. Other fairy tale revisions will be magicking their way to us soon, including Jean Johnson's Bedtime Stories: A Collection of Erotic Fairy Tales, which will be published next spring. …

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