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Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Undine and Ondine

In The Fantastic Imagination, George Macdonald, one of my favourite fairy tale writers, said:
'Were I asked, what is a fairytale? I should reply, Read Undine: that is a fairytale; then read this and that as well, and you will see what is a fairytale. Were I further begged to describe the fairytale, or define what it is, I would make answer, that I should as soon think of describing the abstract human face, or stating what must go to constitute a human being. A fairytale is just a fairytale, as a face is just a face; and of all fairytales I know, I think Undine the most beautiful.'
Undine is one of the inspirations behind Neil Jordan's forthcoming film Ondine. Gypsy, at Once Upon a Blog, wrote a great post about the film last week, but I'm so excited about it I wanted to share the trailer here too:

Also, there is a beautiful digitised copy of Undine, illustrated by Arthur Rackham, available to read online here.


  1. Looks good, thanks for the tip - I'll go read the review by Gypsy now...

  2. I really want to see that now! It looks fabulous :)

  3. Mermaids and Selkies, Ireland and the sea...all my favourite things. I REALLY have to see this now, it looks fabulous! Thanks Claire for spotlighting it, I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for it's release. :)

  4. The film opened the Dublin Film Festival last night and there's a great review here:

  5. Looks a nice film, but 'tis not the German story of Undine by Friedrich de la Motte Fouque. Now there's a wonderful tale steeped in German Romanticism!

    This looks like a lovely selkie tale, though.

  6. Thanks Katherine, yes you're right it's definitely not an adaptation of Undine (which I started the other day and am thoroughly enjoying!). I suppose the novella might still have been an influence just in the sense of its also being about a woman from the water. Although it does seem the film is about a selkie rather than an undine.

    Since posting I've also come across this interesting reference to Ondines and Undines on Wikipedia: (I don't know how accurate it is though - it's definitely time for me to indulge in some more sea tales!)

  7. Thank you for the recommendation!
    I look forward to reading the tale of Undine.