Growing Up in “a new sort of country”
Charting Transnational Identities in the Fairy Tales of Margaret Collier Galletti di Cadilhac
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 sociohistorical 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.
Auerbach, Nina, and U. C. Knoepflmacher. Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers. University of Chicago Press, 1992.
Brown, Horatio Forbes. “Our Home by the Adriatic.” The Academy, 6 November 1886, p. 304.
Calvino, Italo. Le città invisibili. Arnaldo Mondadori Editore, 2016.
Capancioni, Claudia. “‘The strong patriotism with which the hearts of all Italians beat has made them one nation’: The Risorgimento in the Writings of Margaret Collier.” Anglistica Pisana, vol. 9, no. 1-2, 2012, pp. 38-44.
—. “Victorian Women Writers and the Truth of the ‘other side of Italy.’” Women, Travel Writing, and Truth, edited by Clare Broome Saunders, Routledge, 2014, pp. 109-23.
Chapman, Alison and Jane Stabler, editors. Unfolding the South: Nineteenth-Century British Women Writers and Artists in Italy. Manchester University Press, 2003.
Collier, Margaret. Prince Peerless: A Fairy Folk Story Book. Illustrated by John Collier, New York, 1887.
—. Rachel and Maurice and Other Tales. London, 1892.
“Christmas Books.” The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art, 13 November 1886, pp. 664-65.
“Christmas Books.” The Athenaeum, 18 December 1886, pp. 823-24.
Friedman, Susan Stanford. Mappings: Feminism and the Cultural Geographies of Encounter. Princeton University Press, 1998.
Galletti di Cadilhac, Margaret. “The Vergaro: A Tale.” New Quarterly Magazine, 1876, pp. 431-47.
—. The Camorristi and Other Tales. London, 1882.
Gooch, Simon. The Collier Family. Private, 2007.
Hilton, Mary, Morag Styles, and Victor Watson, editors. Opening the Nursery Door: Reading, Writing and Childhood 1600-1900. Routledge, 1997.
Jenkins, Roy. Gladstone. Macmillan, 1995.
“Minor Notices.” The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art, 12 August 1882, pp. 223-24.
Moers, Ellen. Literary Women. Doubleday, 1978.
Muzzarelli, Clara Formentini. “Il mondo di San Venanzo.” Roberto Clemens Galletti di Cadilhac: pioniere della telegrafia senza fili, edited by Mario Guidone and Clara Muzzarelli Formentini. Andrea Livi Editore, 2001, pp. 21-29.
“Prince Peerless.” The Academy, 27 November 1886, p. 361.
“Reviews: Our Home by the Adriatic.” The Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science and Art, 9 October 1886, pp. 486-87.
Smith, Ann, editor. The Girl in the Text. Berghahn, 2019.
Springall, Jill. “John Collier (1850-1934).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 23 September 2004. Oxford University Press. http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/32499. Accessed 20 July 2005.
Stoddart, Brian. A People’s Collector in the British Raj: Arthur Galletti. Readworthy Publications, 2011.
Teverson, Andrew. Fairy Tale. Routledge, 2013.
—. The Fairy Tale World. Routledge, 2019.
Warner, Marina. From the Beast to the Blonde: on Fairy Tales and Their Tellers. Vintage, 1995.
—. Once Upon A Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale. Oxford University Press, 2014.
Zipes, Jack. The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm. W. W. Norton & Company, 2001.
—. Victorian Fairy Tales: The Revolt of the Fairies and Elves. Routledge, 1989.
How to Cite
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
From issue 6 (2022) onward, the journal uses the CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 license. The authors retain their copyright. For articles published in previous issues (1,2,3,4 and 5) the authors retain their copyright to their articles. Readers can download, read, and link to the articles published in issues 1-5, but they cannot republish these articles. Authors can upload them in their institutional repositories.