The Irresistible Fairy Tale: The Cultural and Social History of a Genre

Princeton University Press
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If there is one genre that has captured the imagination of people in all walks of life throughout the world, it is the fairy tale. Yet we still have great difficulty understanding how it originated, evolved, and spread--or why so many people cannot resist its appeal, no matter how it changes or what form it takes. In this book, renowned fairy-tale expert Jack Zipes presents a provocative new theory about why fairy tales were created and retold--and why they became such an indelible and infinitely adaptable part of cultures around the world.

Drawing on cognitive science, evolutionary theory, anthropology, psychology, literary theory, and other fields, Zipes presents a nuanced argument about how fairy tales originated in ancient oral cultures, how they evolved through the rise of literary culture and print, and how, in our own time, they continue to change through their adaptation in an ever-growing variety of media. In making his case, Zipes considers a wide range of fascinating examples, including fairy tales told, collected, and written by women in the nineteenth century; Catherine Breillat's film adaptation of Perrault's "Bluebeard"; and contemporary fairy-tale drawings, paintings, sculptures, and photographs that critique canonical print versions.

While we may never be able to fully explain fairy tales, The Irresistible Fairy Tale provides a powerful theory of how and why they evolved--and why we still use them to make meaning of our lives.

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About the author

Jack Zipes is professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota and the author, translator, and editor of dozens of studies and collections of folk and fairy tales. His recent books include Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre, Relentless Progress: The Reconfiguration of Children's Literature, Fairy Tales, and Storytelling, and The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Mar 19, 2012
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Pages
256
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ISBN
9781400841820
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Language
English
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Genres
Literary Criticism / Children's & Young Adult Literature
Literary Criticism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Jack Zipes
Jack Zipes
In over 1,000 entries, this acclaimed Companion covers all aspects of the Western fairy tale tradition, from medieval to modern, under the guidance of Professor Jack Zipes. It provides an authoritative reference source for this complex and captivating genre, exploring the tales themselves, the writers who wrote and reworked them, and the artists who illustrated them. It also covers numerous related topics such as the fairy tale and film, television, art, opera, ballet, the oral tradition, music, advertising, cartoons, fantasy literature, feminism, and stamps. First published in 2000, 130 new entries have been added to account for recent developments in the field, including J. K. Rowling and Suzanne Collins, and new articles on topics such as cognitive criticism and fairy tales, digital fairy tales, fairy tale blogs and websites, and pornography and fairy tales. The remaining entries have been revised and updated in consultation with expert contributors. This second edition contains beautifully designed feature articles highlighting countries with a strong fairy tale tradition, covering: Britain and Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, North America and Canada, Portugal, Scandinavian countries, Slavic and Baltic countries, and Spain. It also includes an informative and engaging introduction by the editor, which sets the subject in its historical and literary context. A detailed and updated bibliography provides information about background literature and further reading material. In addition, the A to Z entries are accompanied by over 60 beautiful and carefully selected black and white illustrations. Already renowned in its field, the second edition of this unique work is an essential companion for anyone interested in fairy tales in literature, film, and art; and for anyone who values the tradition of storytelling.
Jack Zipes
A diverse new anthology that traces the meaning and magic of the sorcerer's apprentice tale throughout history

"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" might conjure up images of Mickey Mouse from the Disney film Fantasia, or of Harry Potter. As this anthology reveals, however, "sorcerer's apprentice" tales—in which a young person rebels against, or complies with, an authority who holds the keys to magical powers—have been told through the centuries, in many languages and cultures, from classical times to today. This unique and beautifully illustrated book brings together more than fifty sorcerer's apprentice stories by a plethora of writers, including Ovid, Sir Walter Scott, and the Brothers Grimm. From Goethe's "The Pupil in Magic" to A. K. Ramanujan's "The Guru and His Disciple," this expansive collection presents variations of a classic passed down through countries and eras.

Readers enter worlds where household objects are brought to life and shape-shifting occurs from human to animal and back again. We meet two types of apprentice: "The Humiliated Apprentice," a foolish bumbler who wields magic ineffectively and promotes obedience to authority; and "The Rebellious Apprentice" who, through ambition and transformative skills, promotes empowerment and self-awareness. In an extensive introduction, esteemed fairy-tale scholar Jack Zipes discusses the significance and meaning of the apprentice stories, the contradictions in popular retellings, and the importance of magic as a tool of resistance against figures who abuse their authority. Twenty specially commissioned black-and-white illustrations by noted artist Natalie Frank bring the stories to visual life.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice enlightens and entertains readers with enduring, spellbinding tales of sorcery that have been with us through the ages.

Jack Zipes
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