THE PRINCESS TUTU COLLECTION
Gold Crown Museum of Fine and Performing Arts
1. PRINZ UND RABE
[DROSSELMEYER] The Prince and the Raven. Frankfurt, 1781, Köhler Fuchs Scholz, 1 st edition.
Quarto; 168 pages; 12 engraved plates; calfskin; handwritten message on frontispiece: 'To Edel, who serves me better now than when she was with me.'.
Although lauded by contemporaries as one of the foremost storytellers of his day, Drosselmeyer sank into literary obscurity soon after his death. Outlawed by secular authorities and declared heretical by Catholic and Protestant denominations, his books and plays were burned by the dozens. His current stature in fairy tale literature is almost wholly thanks to the novel Princess Tutu, whose publication in 1910 sparked a massive revival of interest in his work.
This volume, a rare first edition of The Prince and the Raven, was a posthumous gift from Drosselmeyer to his ex-lover Edel. It is not clear why Drosselmeyer chose to have his book published in its unfinished state, but in hindsight the decision was fortuitous. He fell ill shortly after the publication of this novel, and died a year later without ever producing an ending to the story.
2. THE SWORD OF THE PRINCE
Sword hilt; iron with swan detail in silver plate and rubies; date unknown.
The sword of the prince, used to shatter the prince's heart into shards in Princess Tutu, was itself shattered later in the novel by the prince's knight. A broken stump of steel blade is attached to the displayed hilt. It is unclear when the sword hilt displayed here was manufactured, or how it came into the Autor family's possession, but it may have been produced by an artisan just before the Second World War, when Princess Tutu's popularity was at its height.
3. PRINCESS TUTU
[KNIGHT F] Princess Tutu, Munich , 1910, Eichelberger , 1 st edition.
Octavo; 320 pages; twenty-four plates; original red cloth.
Indisputably a classic work of children's literature, Princess Tutu has been reprinted countless times and translated into more than thirty languages in the fifty years since it was first published. While the novel claims to be providing an ending to Drosselmeyer's incomplete The Prince and The Raven, its gentle, bittersweet resolution is completely different from Drosselmeyer's dramatic, tragicomic stories.
Drawing on a few brief paragraphs in The Prince and the Raven, Knight transformed the the original character of Princess Tutu into a heroine that has captured the hearts of generations of children and adults.
4. THE DUCK PENDANT
Garnet on a plain gold chain.
The most valuable Princess Tutu necklace in the world is the one worn by Shirley Temple at the 1935 Academy Awards. The pendant shown here, commissioned by Autor for his daughter in 1929, is modelled on the the simpler appearance that Duck's pendant takes on when she is an ordinary schoolgirl. At the end of the first Princess Tutu novel, Duck returns this pendant to the prince, permanently – or so she believes – returning to her animal form.
5. THE DUCKLING WHO DANCED
[KNIGHT F] The Duckling Who Danced, New York , 1919, Autor & Knight , 1 st edition.
Octavo; 360 pages; thirty-four plates; green cloth.
The most critically acclaimed of the Princess Tutu novels. Takes place against the backdrop of the First World War. For the entirety of the story Duck takes on her original form as a duck, making her way across war-torn Europe and searching for her old friends.
The Duckling Who Danced has a stronger focus on character study than its prequel. In particular it concentrates on the emotional struggles of Duck as she attempts to befriend other wild birds and realises that she is no longer what she used to be. Like the other enchanted animals of Gold Crown Town – including the ballet teacher Cat and former classmate Anteaterina – she has become partly human and partly magical.
At the end of the book Duck finally meets her friend, the writer, who has been serving in the German army. They decide to leave for America, to meet his cousin in New York. The ending is ambiguous, but it is implied that the writer will use his magic to turn her into a girl once again.
6. THE DRUMMER GIRL PUPPET
Painted wood, charred.
Legless, the puppet is about two feet tall. The head is intact and the eyes have been painted shut, with long lashes. The drumskin is gone but the cylindrical shell is mostly unharmed although blackened. The body is hollow. Stored inside the puppet is the typewritten draft of a novelette by Knight whose final version appears in Tutu: The Short Stories. The final line goes like this: “And Uzura kept on drumming and saying 'zura, zura' and living happily for as long as she wanted. But the day came when she chose to sleep. And she did.” Retrieved from Knight's home in 1929 after both his house and the Autor & Knight offices were set on fire by an unknown arsonist.
7. ONCE UPON A TIME
[KNIGHT F] Once Upon A Time, New York , 1928, Autor & Knight , 1 st edition.
Octavo; 240 pages; eighteen plates; green cloth.
Rewritten twenty-five times before it saw publication, Once Upon a Time is itself a novel about rewriting stories. Duck and the writer discover that the only way she can become a human girl is by entering an unfinished story. Together they become itinerant storytellers, travelling from continent to continent in search of unresolved magical tales. Gradually Duck's transformations into Tutu become more and more fleeting. Finally, she and the writer confess their love for one another, only to find that there are no more incomplete stories in the world for them to enter and that Duck is trapped as a bird forever.
8. THE JOURNAL OF F. KNIGHT.
Gold padlock; black leather.
Reproduced here is an entry dated 12th February 1929, written in London. Appears to be the beginnings of a fourth Tutu novel, never completed:
“They may take my hands. They may take my neck. They may do nothing; neither amputation nor death did much to stop my ancestor. In the end, his stories are the most powerful of all. The opening I have made in the tale is minuscule, a mere crack – but I delude myself. A leak in the dyke. Eventually it will fill the world.
Mytho and Rue agreed. A story completed remains static; they have had twenty years to be happy and bored. Mytho said that he had heart enough to spare.
She is character and duck and girl. That is why I love her. But because she is character and duck and girl, I – We will see. Glory over happiness.”
9. TUTU: THE SHORT STORIES
[KNIGHT F] Tutu: The Short Stories, New York , 1933, Autor & Autor .
Trade paperback, 20 plates, 240 pages.
Published posthumously. Most of these stories were written between 1912 and 1930, and deal with minor characters from the Princess Tutu novels, including Lilie, a character who shares a name with and is almost certainly modelled on Autor's own wife. A few stories, most notably the one about Lilie, do not appear to be written in Knight's usual style and there are speculations as to whether they were penned by Autor.
10. TWO PHOTOGRAPHS, THE AUTOR FAMILY AT KNIGHT'S FUNERAL
Sepia; December 1929
Although not a notorious recluse like his partner Knight was, Autor was not given to public appearances. He is seen here standing next to his wife Lilie. On the other side of Lilie is their daughter, then a schoolgirl in her early teens, wearing a garnet pendant on a gold chain.
The Autors retired from the publishing world shortly after the final Princess Tutu book was released. Eventually they moved to Chicago and began producing musicals. When asked why he had ceased working as a publisher, Autor replied, “I was never interested in books. I was interested in power. After my cousin died the only power left in the world was the one that belongs to my daughter. No, she's not here; she's out paddling in the lake. What, do you want to speak to her? ...Well, go on then. Perhaps she will want to see you.”
11. THE DUCK POND AND THE OAK TREE
The age of the tree is unknown, but it is seen at its current height and girth in a photograph taken of the Gold Crown Museum in 1932. The duck pond was added recently as a condition of Autor's bequest. So far it only has one inhabitant, a young female duck, not quite full-grown. In a surprisingly uncreative spirit and in honour of our new collection the curator of the Museum has undertaken to name her Duck.
Duck enjoys breadcrumbs. You are welcome to feed her, if she does not appear to have indigestion.