On my bookshelf of 25 indispensible sources on children's literature I have Narratives of Love and Loss by Margaret and Michael Rustin. It is an excellent example of what psychoanalytical approach to literature can do. I have this book on all my course lists, and I have also used it in my own work. So I was especially excited to meet the Rustins yesterday, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. It is a great honour to be invited to speak in my favourite museum, and event was in conjunction with the exhibition Telling Tales. Anton saw the exhibition when he was in London and told me that I must absolutely see it. I told him I was going to give a lecture in connection. I think he was impressed.
I was a bit uneasy about my lecture precisely because the Rustins were there. I normally talk a lot about psychoanalytical approaches to fairy tales because I like to provoke, and people get so upset when they hear what fairy tales really are about. So I played down the psychoanalytical bit and focused on the anthropological, which can be quite shocking as well. Cannibalism and such things. It turned out our talks fit perfect together.
Yet another speaker was Catherine Hyde, the artist who has illustrated Carol Anne Duffy's fairy tale The Princess's Blankets and is working on The Firebird. Her favourite fairy tale is Baba Yaga. Somehow it all felt just right.