Born in 1844 in Scotland, Andrew Lang was a scholar who became one of the most influential writers in the fields of folklore, anthropology and literature, and is best known for the 12 volumes of fairy tales that he collected.
The first, The Blue Fairy Book was published in 1889 by Longmans, Green and illustrated by H. J. Ford and G. P. Jacomb Hood. The book was a huge success and the publishers requested more. Lang obliged, and produced The Red Fairy Book in 1890, and a whole series of other rainbow editions, ending with The Lilac Fairy Book in 1910.
Andrew Lang was not the author of the tales in this series, a point he insisted on in almost every preface. His wife, Leonora Blanche Lang, whom he married in April 1875, did much of the work on these books, translating some tales, and supervising the work of other translators.
Other publications edited by Lang include: The Blue Poetry Book (1891); The True Story Book (1893); The Red True Story Book (1895); The Nursery Rhyme Book (1897); Arabian Nights Entertainments (1898);The Red Book of Animal Stories (1899); and The Book of Romance (1902).
Lang also wrote original fairy tales including The Princess Nobody: a Tale of Fairy Land after the Drawings of Richard Doyle (1884) at the request of his friend and publisher Longman. Then he wrote The Gold of Fairnilee (1888) a story in Scottish border folklore traditional style. Prince Prigio (1889) and its sequel Prince Ricardo of Pantouflia (1893) both illustrated by Gordon Browne were later published under the title "The Chronicles of Pantouflia" in My Own Fairy Book (1895).
His lifelong devotion to Homer produced well-known prose translations of The Odyssey (1879), in collaboration with S.H. Butcher, and of The Iliad (1883), with Walter Leaf and Ernest Myers.
Lang was born in Selkirk, Scotland in March 31, 1844 and died July 20, 1912. In his lifetime, he produced 120 books and pamphlets, edited or contributed to another 150 volumes, wrote more than 5000 essays, articles and reviews.
See: The Violet Fairy Book and The Blue Fairy Book for full texts of fairy tales.
See: Letters to Dead Authors for some of Lang's non-fairy tale material.