Saturday, February 27, 2016

Promoting "Damian and the Dragon" by Manning-Sanders and Papas

This promo for Ruth Manning-Sanders' Damian and the Dragon appears on the back cover of the dust jacket for the 1967 reprint of her Red Indian Folk and Fairy Tales, published by Oxford University Press.

Damian and the Dragon, a book of Greek folk-tales, wasn't published until 1965, five years after the first edition of Red Indian Folk and Fairy Tales, so it's pretty neat that Red Indian Folk and Fairy Tales went through so many printings that it could be used to tout a much-later book by the prolific author.

The promo includes one of the illustrations by William Papas, who did both black-and-white and color artwork for Damian and the Dragon. It was, I believe, his only collaboration with Manning-Sanders. Papas (1927-2000) had a diverse and fascinating career that saw him serve as an illustrator for newspapers, magazines and more than a dozen books. He is, I am sure, the only individual who has illustrated works by Ruth Manning-Sanders, C.S. Lewis and Pope John Paul I (1978's Illustrissimi).

I like Papas' illustration of the dragon and the Greek boy (presumably, Damian). It reminds me a little bit of, perhaps, the Disney version of The Jungle Book crossed with Pete's Dragon. (And both of those properties, coincidentally, have remakes hitting the theaters this year. We shall definitely not speak of the non-musical Pete's Dragon remake. I'm not feeling very brazzle-dazzle about it.)

Here is the full text of the back-cover copy promoting Damian and the Dragon...
'... Damian stood in front of the chair, and the dragon clawed him all over, but gently, not to hurt him. "My son," he said, "you seem a fine young fellow. If you will be my eyes and help me, I will care for you and love you."'

And Prince Damian promised to be the dragon's eyes and help him, and he only only outwitted the witch-maidens who kept the dragon's eyes in a box guarded by two imps, he also won himself a gold and silver mare, and taught the king his father a lesson, to try and control his temper in the future.

This is but one of the twenty-one modern fairy-tales from Greece, retold by Ruth Manning-Sanders in her inimitable, amusing, and lively style.
If you're intrigued, there's at least one very cheap copy of the book available on Amazon at this moment.

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