From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Tanglewood Tales for Boys and Girls (1853) is a book by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne, a sequel to A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys. It is a re-writing of some of the most famous of the ancient Greek myths in a volume for children.
The book covers the myths of:
- Theseus and the Minotaur (Chapter : "The Minotaur")
- Antaeus and the Pygmies (Chapter: "The Pygmies")
- Dragon's Teeth (Chapter: "The Dragon's Teeth")
- Circe's Palace (Chapter: "Circe's Palace")
- Proserpina, Ceres, Pluto, and the Pomegranate Seed (Chapter: "The Pomegranate Seed")
- Jason and the Golden Fleece (Chapter: "The Golden Fleece")
In addition there is an opening introduction, titled "The Wayside", in reference to The Wayside in Concord, Massachusetts, where Hawthorne lived from 1852 until his death and presumably where he was when he wrote the introduction. Hawthorne recounts a visit from his young friend Eustace Bright, who requested a sequel to Wonder Book, thus explaining the origin of Tales. Although Hawthorne informs us in the introduction that these stories were also later retold by Cousin Eustace, the frame stories of A Wonder-Book have been abandoned.
Hawthorne wrote the book while renting a small cottage in the Berkshires, a popular vacation area for the wealthy industrialists of the Gilded Age. The owner of the cottage, a railroad baron, renamed the cottage "Tanglewood" in honor of the book written there. Later, a nearby mansion was renamed Tanglewood and hosted concerts which continue to this day.