Emperor's New Clothes | Modern Interpretations

The story of East of the Sun and West of the Moon and its themes have appeared in literature and other forms of art. This page provides a small discussion of some of the better known treatments by authors and other artists.

Modern Interpretations

In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz

Gidwitz, Adam. In a Glass Grimmly. New York: Dutton Juvenile, 2012.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in ebook or hardcover or paperback.

NOVEL: More Grimm tales await in the harrowing, hilarious companion to a beloved new classic Take caution ahead-- Oversize plant life, eerie amphibious royalty, and fear-inducing creatures abound. Lest you enter with dread. Follow Jack and Jill as they enter startling new landscapes that may (or may not) be scary, bloody, terrifying, and altogether true. Step lively, dear reader . . . Happily ever after isn't cutting it anymore. In this companion novel to Adam Gidwitz's widely acclaimed, award-winning debut, A Tale Dark & Grimm, Jack and Jill explore a new set of tales from the Brothers Grimm and others, including Jack and the Beanstalk, The Emperor's New Clothes, and The Frog Prince.


Once Upon a Crime

Brett, Simon. "The Emperor's New Clothes." Once Upon A Crime. Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg, eds. New York: Berkeley Prime Crime, 1998.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover 
or paperback.


Teller of Tales by William J. Brooke

Brooke, William. "The Emperor's Clothes Are News." Teller of Tales. New York: Harper Trophy, 1994.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.


Armless Maiden edited by Terri Windling

Dalkey, Kara. "The Chrysanthemum Robe ." The Armless Maiden. Terri Windling, ed. New York: Tor Books, 1995.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.


Legally Correct Fairy Tales by David Fisher

Fisher, David. "Tailor v. Emperor: Motion for Summary Judgment." Legally Correct Fairy Tales. New York: Warner, 1996.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover. 


Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times by James Finn Garner

Garner, James Finn. "The Emperor's New Clothes." Politically Correct Bedtime Stories: Modern Tales for Our Life and Times. New York: Hungry Minds Inc, 1994.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover. 


Silver Birch, Blood Moon

Kress, Nancy. "Clad in Gossamer." Silver Birch, Blood Moon.Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, eds. New York: Avon, 1999.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in paperback.


Goldilocks on Management: 27 Revisionist Fairy Tales for Serious Managers

Mayer, Gloria Gilbert and Thomas Mayer. "The Emperor's New Clothes." Goldilocks on Management: 27 Revisionist Fairy Tales for Serious Managers. New York: American Management Association, 1999. 
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover.


Once upon a Galaxy by Wil McCarthy, Martin H. Greenberg, John Helfers

Schmidt, Stanley. "The Emperor's New Clothes." Once Upon a Galaxy. Will McCarthy, Martin H. Greenberg, and John Helfers, eds. New York: DAW, 2002.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in paperback.


Feminist Fairy Tales by Barbara Walker

Walker, Barbara. "The Empress's New Clothes." Feminist Fairy Tales. San Francisco: Harper, 1996.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover or paperback.

Twice Upon A Time edited by Denise Little

What, Leslie. "The Emperor's New (And Improved) Clothes." Twice Upon A Time. Denise Little, ed. New York: DAW Books, 1999.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in paperback.


Wisenberg, S. L. "After the Procession." North American Review. 281:4. July/August 1996.


Return to Magic by Clive Sansom

Sansom, Clive. "Fashion Parade." Return to Magic. London: Leslie Frewin, 1969.
Amazon.com: Buy the book in hardcover.

I have listed primarily classical compositions of music using the themes of this fairy tale in either ballet, opera or some other musical style. I have also provided links to popular recordings of the music when available at Amazon.com. The advantage to these links is that you can listen to samples of the music at no charge.


O'Connor, Sinead. "The Emperor's New Clothes." I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got. Ensign Records, 1990.


To learn more about these films, please visit the
Internet Movie Database.


Novoye platye korolya (1919). Yuri Zhelyabuzhsky, director. From Russia. USA title: The Emperor's New Clothes.

SILENT FILM. Black and white. Read more about the film on IMDB.com at Novoye platye korolya.


The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor's New Clothes (1953). Ted Parmelee, director.
Buy the movie on VHS.

Hans Conried .... Various voices

ANIMATION. Read more about the film on IMDB.com at The Emperor's New Clothes.


The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor's New Clothes (1972) (TV). Jules Bass, director.
Buy the movie on VHS. or Buy the movie on DVD.

Danny Kaye .... Marmaduke 
Cyril Ritchard .... Emperor Klockenlocher 
Imogene Coca .... Princess Jane Klockenlocher

ANIMATION. From Rankin and Bass. From back cover of DVD: "Emperor Klonkenlocker of Bibbentucker is the best-dressed man in the land, and has offered one million grinklens to the winning tailor for the Emperor's new clothes. Marmaduke and his loyal partner Musty decide that becoming tailors will enhance their chances to win the competition. First premiering on ABC as a network special in February 1972, "The Enchanted World of Danny Kaye stars Danny as the character Marmaduke telling the classic story of a magical musical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Emperor's New Clothes'."

Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale TheatreFaerie Tale Theatre: The Emperor's New ClothesFaerie Tale Theatre: The Emperor's New Clothes

Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre: The Emperor's New Clothes (1985) (TV). Gilbert Cates, director.
Amazon.com: Buy the series on DVD.

Alan Arkin ... Bo
Art Carney ... Morty
Georgia Brown ... Maggie
Dick Shawn ... The Emperor

This television series originally aired on Showtime for six seasons and a total of 27 episodes. To see a full episode list, go to Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre.

Cannon Movie Tales: The Emperor's New ClothesEmperor's New Clothes illustrated by Paul Zelinsky

Cannon Movie Tales: The Emperor's New Clothes (1987). David Irving, director.
Amazon.com: Buy it on DVD or VHS.

Sid Caesar .... The Emperor 
Clive Revill .... Prime Minister 
Robert Morse .... The Tailor

MUSICAL. From Sony Pictures: "Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale gets a lavish makeover in this whimsical live-action comedy starring showbiz legend Sid Caesar (Grease), who plays the eccentric Emperor with his "trademark foreign language gibberish and nervous delivery" (Variety). Full of mischief, merriment and mayhem, this delightful twist on a beloved story weaves a hilarious family adventure you won't soon forget!

"The Emperor's blinding vanity makes him an easy mark for con artists, especially the two phony tailors hired to make him a dazzling outfit for his daughter Gilda's (Lysette Anthony) wedding. While the elder crook (Robert Morse) schemes to steal the royal jewels, his nephew (Jason Carter) is busy stealing Gilda's heart. In the midst of it all, it takes a child to reveal the truth that no one else can see!"

To see a full list of Cannon Movie Tales, go to Cannon Movie Tales.

Cisarovy nove saty (1994). Juraj Herz, director. From the Czech Republic & Germany. USA title: The Emperor's New Clothes.

Harald Juhnke .... Kaiser 
Andréa Ferréol .... Herzogin 
Jan Kalous .... Tobias 
Carsten Voigt .... Lorenzo 
Therese Herz .... Maria

Read more about the film on IMDB.com at Cisarovy nove saty.

Fairy Tales (BBC One)

The Empress's New Clothes (2007/8). Debbie Horsfield, writer. Hat Trick/BBC Northern Ireland Production for BBC One.

The third fairy tale in the BBC Fairy Tales anthology is The Empress's New Clothes. Debbie Horsfield (creator of Cutting It, Making Out) retells The Emperor's New Clothes, a story which dates back to the second century.

One of the earliest versions features a painter of invisible pictures rather than a weaver, who claimed only persons of noble birth could see his art. And in a medieval Arabic version of the tale, a king struts naked convinced he's wearing clothes only visible to men who are the flesh and blood sons of their fathers.

"It's the story of a naive young mother who arrives in the big city, is befriended by a celebrity and is immediately swept away by the apparent glamour and excitement of her lifestyle," explains Debbie.

The universal theme about the urge to consume and outshine makes The Emperor's New Clothes so enduringly popular and provides inspiration for Debbie Horsfield's vibrant update.

In The Empress's New Clothes, just as the emperor defines himself through his fine clothes, Debbie's heroine, soap star Michaela (Denise Van Outen) is slavish to fashion to an extraordinarily high degree and hell bent on outshining her co-star and arch-rival Shekeelia (Koel Purie) at the Silver Sphere Awards, the highlight in the soap opera calendar.

Such obsession with expensive clothes and belongings can only lead to downfall and as we all know from the original story – nudity.

In terms of her inspiration for the comedy-drama, Debbie explains: "I talked to people who'd been publicists on various soaps. I combed the glossy magazines, particularly those featuring WAGs and soap stars. I talked to friends in the fashion industry and the PR industry.

"I talked to everyone about whether they bought designer clothes and why. I knew a bit about the world of award ceremonies, having been to a few myself! I'd had personal experience of being a naive newcomer in a big city so didn't need to research that! Likewise, I knew what it felt like to be a new mother with small children, feeling distinctly out of things.

"This fairy tale struck me as particularly relevant for today's celebrity-and-designer-obsessed society. The more I read it, the more I realised how every aspect of the story has contemporary resonances."



Ludlam, Charles. The Enchanted Pig. New York: Samuel French.

FULL-LENGTH PLAY: Comedy. Combine elements of King Lear, The Frog Prince, Cinderella and The Three Sisters and you have this delirious merriment.

''Clean and camp-free, it should appeal both to wide-eyed adults and sophisticated children.''—N.Y. Times

Based on the fairy tale, "The Enchanted Pig," which is similar to "East of the Sun, West of the Moon." Read the text to the tale on SurLaLune at The Enchanted Pig.

Atkins, Greg. The Emperor's New ClothesBoston: Baker's Plays, 1990.


Boettcher-Tate, Karen. The Emperor's New ClothesDenver: Pioneer Drama Service, 1991.


Carroll, John R. The Emperor's New ClothesByron, CA: Front Row Experience, 1990.


Marvin, Blanche. The Emperor's New ClothesNew York: Samuel French, 1991.


Thane, Adele. The Emperor's New ClothesIn The Drama Magazine for Young People. Boston: Plays, Inc., December 1991. pp. 45-49.


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