When it comes to fairy tale tellers, most of us think of the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, or even Charles Perrault. But the names we less frequently associate with the genre are those of women: the writers and weavers of stories that are so often overshadowed by many of their male contemporaries. During the tail end of the 19th century, one such woman was adding her voice to the world of the Fae, crafting stories of talking animals, witches and wizards, pixies, peasants, princes and princesses – all the ingredients we’ve come to associate with the art of the fairy tale. But Mary de Morgan wasn’t afraid to play with these tropes, and the many and varied influences that shaped her life also helped to shape her stories. From growing up participating in the seances and salons of her Spiritualist mother to moving in a circle of artists that included members of the Pre-Raphaelites and the Arts and Craft Movement, Mary was surrounded by inspiration to fuel her creativity, leading her to publish three volumes of fairy tales in her lifetime and to write many other works besides. But it’s only recently that de Morgan’s stories have come back to the fore, and that she has begun to receive the recognition she so deserves for her contribution to the mystical and magical world of faerie.
Gather round as we cross into fairyland, and discover the life and works of Mary de Morgan.
Carroll, Alicia. ‘The Greening of Mary De Morgan: The Cultivating Woman and the Ecological Imaginary in “The Seeds of Love”’. Victorian Review, vol. 36, no. 2, Fall 2010, pp.104-117.
De Morgan, Mary. On a Pincushion and Other Fairy Tales. Seeley, Jackson & Halliday, 1877.
The Necklace of Princess Fiorimonde and Other Stories. MacMillan & Co., 1880.
Pemberton, Marilyn. Out of the Shadows: The Life and Works of Mary De Morgan. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012.