‘Growing up in “a new sort of country”: charting transnational identities in the fairy tales of Margaret Collier Galletti di Cadilhac’

Capancioni, C. (2021) ‘Growing up in “a new sort of country”: charting transnational identities in the fairy tales of Margaret Collier Galletti di Cadilhac’. Age, Culture, Humanities, 5. ISSN 2375-8856

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In the second half of the nineteenth century, Margaret Collier Galletti di Cadilhac (1846-1928), a little-known writer, published Prince Peerless: A Fairy Folk Story Book (1886), a collection of fairy tales that demands scholarly attention as a valuable experiment with imagining permeable national cultural borders. Collier’s writing appealed to the Victorian readership because it represented unfamiliar Italian geopolitics she understood well as a British resident in Italy. This article, for the first time, opens the door to her Anglo-Italian nursery to examine the ways in which her multilingual and multicultural family stimulated Prince Peerless, a Christmas book beautifully illustrated by John Collier (1850-1934), the author’s younger brother. It explores how, through fantasy, she moves beyond factual and practical experience of negotiating Anglo-Italian dynamics and speculates on the potential of growing up multinational. In her tales, fairies, elves, and gnomes are an effective vehicle in representing linguistic, cultural, and socio-historical diversity. Her fantastic creatures are an essential interlocutor for children to grow up understanding the value, as well as the challenge, of being other, of cultural differences, interaction, and negotiation. This article studies how Prince Peerless charts new geographies of encounters between children, or young adults, and magical creatures. In the fairy tale, I argue, Margaret Collier finds a subjunctive form to explore how childhood experiences of visiting fairylands can shape one’s cultural models of identity and transcend national borders by configuring identities that go beyond sociocultural expectations defined by nation states and assert a multilingual and multilayered identity.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: School of Humanities
Depositing User: Dr Claudia Capancioni
Date Deposited: 18 May 2021 08:30
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2021 08:03
URI: https://bgro.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/847

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