The Dwarfing of Men in Victorian Fairy-Tale Literature

As Jack Zipes explains in his preface to Victorian Fairy Tales: The Revolt of the Fairies and the Elves, “The Victorian fairy-tale writers always had two ideal audiences in mind when they composed their tales – young middle-class readers whose minds and morals they wanted to influence, and adult middle-class readers whose ideas they wanted to challenge and reform” (xiv). “It was through the fairy tale,” he continues, “that a social discourse about conditions in Victorian England took form, and this discourse is not without interest for readers today” (xi).