The Princess and the Goblin
|The Princess and the Goblin|
Cover of the edition published by Blackie & Son c. 1911
|Genre||Children's Fantasy novel|
|Publisher||Strahan & Co|
|Followed by||The Princess and Curdie|
The sequel to this book is The Princess and Curdie.
Anne Thaxter Eaton writes in A Critical History of Children's Literature that The Princess and the Goblin and its sequel “quietly suggest in every incident ideas of courage and honor."  Jeffrey Holdaway writing in New Zealand Art Monthly said that both books start out as “normal fairytales but slowly become stranger”, and that they contain layers of symbolism similar to that of Lewis Carroll’s work.
Eight-year-old Princess Irene lives a lonely life in a wild, desolate, mountainous kingdom, with only her nursemaid, "Lootie" for company. Due to her sheltered upbringing, her father being absent attending to affairs of state and her mother being dead, Irene has never known about the existence of the goblins, which lurk in the underground mines.
These goblins are grotesque and hideous beings, who, centuries ago, were human, but due to varying reasons, were driven underground and were malformed and distorted by their new lifestyle. This caused them to despise the humans above the ground and vow revenge against them. Irene and Lootie – who knows of the goblins – stay out late one night and are chased by the goblins, who only appear on the surface at night as sunshine repulses them. Lootie and Irene barely escape the goblins after a miner's child, a boy named Curdie Peterson, appears and sings loudly to the goblins, which drives them away. Curdie states that goblins are repelled by singing, and he and Irene begin to become friends.
However, Curdie soon discovers, after he ventures into the mines and accidentally enters the realm of the goblins, that the goblins are planning a war against the humans on the surface, where they plot to abduct the Princess and marry her to Prince Harelip, the heir to the throne of the goblin kingdom, therefore forcing the humans to accept the goblins as their rulers. The driving force behind this scheme is the vile Goblin Queen, the stepmother of Harelip, who hides a secret – she has toes, a physical trait that goblins do not have and therefore regard with disgust.
With the help of Irene's ethereal great-great grandmother, the Princess and Curdie must hatch a plan to defeat the goblins and save the kingdom.
In the 1960s, the novel was adapted in animated form by Jay Ward for his Fractured Fairy Tales series. This version involved a race of innocent goblins who are forced to live underground. The goblin king falls in love with a princess, but a prince saves her by reciting poetry because goblins hate it.
A full-length animated adaptation of the book, directed by József Gémes, was released in 1992 in the United Kingdom, and in June 1994 in the United States. This Hungary/Wales/Japan co-production, created at Budapest's PannóniaFilm, Japan's NHK, and S4C and Siriol Productions in Great Britain, starred the voices of Joss Ackland, Claire Bloom and William Hootkins. The film's producer, Robin Lyons, also wrote the screenplay. However, it was not well received commercially nor critically upon its U.S. release from Hemdale Film Corporation in summer 1994, reportedly grossing only $1.8 million domestically and receiving mainly negative reviews (compared to Disney's very successful The Lion King that was released during the same month in the United States).
The film's title is "De Prinses van het Zonnevolk" in Dutch (English: The Princess of the Sun-people), "Prinsessan og durtarnir" in Icelandic (The Princess and the Trolls), and "La princesse et la forêt magique" (The princess and the magic forest) in French.
"The Princess and the Goblins" is also a poem by Sylvia Plath (1932–1963).
Australian Title: The Magic Princess
- Eaton, Anne Thaxter; Cornelia Meigs (ed.) (1969). A Critical History of Children's Literature. Macmillan Publishing co. p. 200. ISBN 0-02-583900-4.
- Holdaway, Jeffrey (August 2005). "Eight Important works". New Zealand Art Monthly. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
- Seibert, Brian (12 February 2012). "Toe Shoes That Carry a Princess to Victory". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2012.
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
- The Princess and the Goblin at Project Gutenberg
- The Princess and the Goblin 1911 Blackie edition with color illustrations
- The Princess and Curdie at Project Gutenberg
- The Princess And Curdie 1883 edition with illustrations
- The Princess and the Goblin Kindle Edition with illustrations by Jessie Willcox Smith
- Public domain audio book at librivox.org
- The Princess and the Goblin title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- The Princess and the Goblin at the Internet Movie Database