By Suki Boynton, Daniel JosÃ© Older, Ethel Johnston Phelps
The feminist folktales collected in Sea Girl upend any notion that women are doomed to be sentimental, meek, or submissive. In these classic tales, heroines unflinchingly wade monstrous rivers, escape ogres' nests, and outsmart desperate sharks and hungry tigers. And while defending their families and villages, they always determine their own fate.
Ethel Johnston Phelps (1914-1984) held a master's degree in medieval literature, coedited a Ricardian journal, and published several articles on fifteenth-century subjects. She compiled two anthologies of feminist folktales from around the world, Tatterhood and The Maid of the North.