Jack Zipes has edited many excellent "fantasy" anthologies. This one takes a slightly different tact than most, pulling from a variety of cultures over a long history. You won't find many modern fantasy authors within. Only Jane Yolen, Tanith Lee and Robin McKinley stand out as outstanding recent authors. Zipes reaches all the way back to the Second Century for the first tale, "Cupid and Psyche" by Apuleius, and continues on with well known classic authors like Goethe, Hawthorne, Hans Christian Anderson, Oscar Wilde, Yeates and even Mark Twain. There are 67 tales included spanning the Second Century to the 1980's. Great authors from nearly every literary movement appear and give the reader a tour of the genre.
Readers will find well known tales like "Sleeping Beauty" and "Rumpelstiltskin," but also some lesser known gems like "The Seven Wives of Bluebeard" and "Spiegel the Cat." This collection is a great way to get a young fantasy fan to enjoy the work of classical authors that may have a stigma attached to them (I have to read that for school!) Readers should note that the language of the tales has been altered to the vernacular. So, Cupid and Psyche is told in a straightforward manner without the archaic structures used by the original author. Purists may gasp at the audacity, but new readers will be grateful for the translation! The tone and heart of the stories remain intact. This is a huge work with something nearly everyone can enjoy. Overall, a very well done anthology that is more than worth the price of admission.