The View from Rapunzel's Tower

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The fairy tale Rapunzel has captured the imagination of numerous writers and illustrators, particularly in recent years. Complex in origins and rich in possibilities, the tale has been interpreted in diverse ways that emphasize authentic issues relating to mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, love, longing, temptation, maturation, and responsibility. Poets, novelists, short-story writers, musicians, and illustrators have all found inspiration in Rapunzel. This essay concentrates in particular on the interpretations of three picture book artists, Felix Hoffmann, Trina Schart Hyman, and Paul Zelinsky, in an attempt to better understand both the significance of the tale and the ways in which artists interpret and illuminate stories.

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