Saturday, August 20, 2005


A month-old post on Crooked Timber praises highly Paul Park's new fantasy novel (actually the first in a series) A Princess of Roumania, and this reminded me of The Queen of Roumania's Fairy Book. I had purchased this book used a number of years ago for twenty dollars, simply because it was so odd. It's a red hardcover published in London in 1925, containing eleven fantasy stories set in Romania, and with no author's or editor's name to be found anywhere. When I bought it, I assumed that it was a collection of stories somehow dedicated to the Queen of Romania. But in fact it's by Queen Marie of Romania herself, who was an Englishwoman and a writer (and seems to have quite a few fans on the web, judging by the links page on the site I just linked to). What I've read of the book struck me as fairly conventional "Victorian" fantasy (even though it was published many years after the Victorian Era had ended), and not particularly memorable.

None of which has anything to do with Park's book, except that this Queen was the "Marie of Roumania" of Dorothy Parker's famous poem, which is both the epigraph to Park's book and quoted several times by one of the characters.

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