Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Coatsworth, Elizabeth

(1893-1986) US poet and writer, whose 90 or more Children's Fantasies are of interest, though many were written for younger children, including the first, The Cat and the Captain (1927 chap), and the most famous, The Cat Who Went to Heaven (1930 chap) – in which, by painting it into a picture, a Japanese artist sends his cat to Heaven. EC remains best-known for the Incredible Tale sequence of thematically linked stories – The Enchanted: An Incredible Tale (1951), Silky: An Incredible Tale (1953), Mountain Bride: An Incredible Tale and The White Room (1958) – all transfiguring their New England settings into venues subtly irradiated by a sense of the immanence of Faerie. In the first, a man comes to farm near a mysterious plantation called "The Enchanted", which proves to be a Polder, and the bride he weds proves to have undergone Metamorphosis from a Bird. A similar emotional congruence between this and another world governs the much later Pure Magic (1973; vt The Werefox 1975; vt The Fox Boy 1975 UK), whose protagonist can metamorphose into a fox, and Marra's World (1975 chap), whose eponymous protagonist proves to be a Halfling: half-human, half-Selkie. [JC]

other works for younger children (selected): Knock at the Door (1931 chap); Cricket and the Emperor's Son (1932 chap); The Princess and the Lion (1963 chap); Troll Weather (1967 chap); The Snow Parlor and Other Bedtime Stories (coll 1971 chap); All-of-a-Sudden Susan (1974 chap).

Elizabeth Jane Coatsworth


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.