Fairy Tales Kinder- und Hausmärchen • Jakob Grimm (1785-1863) and his brother Wilhelm (1786-1859) wrote the best-known book in the German language. • Romanticism: project of discovering the true spirit of the German nation, which resided in the language and literature of the people. • Approx. 1795-1830. Age of Goethe and Napoleon. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Who were the Grimm brothers? • Their father is a respected court official, but dies young, thrusting the family into poverty. • Jacob and Wilhelm, the two oldest children, become overachievers to provide for their family. • Study of law in Marburg brings them to Friedrich Karl von Savigny, professor of law. • Savigny is an important figure in German romanticism, believes in the unification of Germany. Teaches the Grimms to study German culture through the history of its laws. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Who were the Grimm brothers? • Savigny introduces the Grimms to the older circle of romantic poets in the area. • 1806 Jacob decides to make a living as a scholar of philology and literature instead of law. • 1806-1807 a job in the War Commission until the country is defeated by Napoleon. • 1808 Jacob and later Wilhelm become Royal Librarians in Kassel. First scholarly publications. • 1812 publication of Kinder- und Hausmärchen. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Who were the Grimm brothers? • 1829 they resign their positions in the library due to a denied promotion and disgust with local politics. • 1830 they both accept positions at the University of Göttingen. Gifted and stimulating teachers. • 1837 they and five colleagues protest the restoration of absolutistic rule and are dismissed. • Grimms blacklisted because of their liberal views. • 1841 Savigny and Bettina von Arnim help them find positions in the University of Berlin. • 1848 Grimms are representatives in the National Assembly in Frankfurt. Failed March Revolution in Germany. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Who were the Grimm brothers? • Jacob retires from politics and teaching (but not from research and writing). • The brothers spend their final years working on a complete historical dictionary of the modern German language (similar to the OED). They make it to the word “Frucht” (fruit). • The project is assumed by other scholars upon their deaths – it is completed only in 1960, with teams from both East and West Germany working in collaboration. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Why did they collect folklore? • In 1806, Achim von Arnim and Clemens Brentano publish a collection of German folk songs, Des Knaben Wunderhorn, which inspires the young Grimm brothers. • Through their mutual friend Savigny, the Grimms are asked to collect tales for a third volume of The Boy’s Wonder Horn. • Grimms see the project as a scholarly contribution to discovering and recording German cultural artifacts. Early form of cultural anthropology. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Why did they collect folklore? • Contrary to legend, they did not travel the countryside in search of the tales. • Most tales were told to them by family friends, mostly upper-middle-class women, some with a French background. • Wilhelm later married one of their primary sources, Dörtchen Wild. Wilhelm was the primary editor for later editions of this book. • Two brothers collaborated on most of their projects, always on extremely close terms with each other. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Why did they collect folklore? • They send Brentano a copy of their tales, but he neglects the text and later donates the manuscript to a monastery (discovered only in the 20th century). • Translations of a few of these tales sent by email. • When Volume III of Des Knaben Wunderhorn does not materialize, the Grimms publish an edition of tales with many scholarly footnotes (1812). • Unexpectedly, the book is a popular success, and the brothers prepare a second volume of tales (1815). Kinder- und Hausmärchen Why did they collect folklore? • In their lifetime, Kinder- and Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales) sees seven editions. • After they realize the popularity of the book, they delete the scholarly commentary and seek to “improve” the tales for children: much less moral ambiguity in later editions. • Although their aim was to preserve the authentic voice of the common people, they revised the tales, some quite extensively. Kinder- und Hausmärchen What else did the Grimm brothers do? • In addition to fairy tales, the Grimm brothers were the first scholars to do groundbreaking research in a number of areas. • In fact, they were two of the first professors of German literature ever, and helped shape the academic discipline as it is know today. • Most of the topics discussed in this course – Eddic poetry and Norse mythology, Germanic languages, Germanic history and legends – were first studied by the Grimm brothers! Kinder- und Hausmärchen What else did the Grimm brothers do? • Grimm Brothers’ selected publications: • • • • • • • • • 1813-1816 Collections of Essays on Germanic folklore 1815 Lays of the Elder Edda, edited volume 1816 German Legends 1819-37 German Grammar (Jacob) 1821 On German Runes (Wilhelm) 1829 The German Heroic Legend (Wilhelm) 1835-54 German Mythology (Jacob) 1848-53 History of the German Language (Jacob) 1852-1960 Historical Dictionary of the German Language Kinder- und Hausmärchen Who first wrote fairy tales? • Marie-Catherine de Barneville, Baroness d'Aulnoy (1650-1704) wrote a famous collection of tales, which gave the genre its name: Les Contes des Fées, or Fairy Tales (1697). • She was an influential member of a literary movement in Paris that allowed women a voice in the salon culture of the time. • She wrote literary fairy tales that are often far removed from traditional, oral folk tales. • Her tales, many of which portray strong female characters, were first recited to an adult, upper-class audience in her salon, and later published. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Who first wrote fairy tales? • Charles Perrault (1628-1703) was the first major writer of stories derived from folk tales. • He was also a central figure in the querelle des anciens et des modernes. • His publication, Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités: Contes de ma mère l'Oye (1697), contained his version of eight popular French tales. • He appended a moral in verse to each of the tales. • His work also reflects the French salon culture of Louis XIV, and the influence of Baroness d’Aulnoy. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Who first wrote fairy tales? • Perrault’s tales, like those of Baronness d’Aulnoy, are literary works rather than simple folk tales. • His collection contains some of the best-known versions of popular tales today: English title The Sleeping Beauty in the Wood French title La belle au bois dormant Aarne-Thompson-Uther type Type 410 Little Red Riding Hood Le petit chaperon rouge Type 333 Blue Beard La Barbe bleüe Type 312 The Master Cat; or, Puss in Boots Le Maistre Chat, ou le Chat Botté Type 545B The Fairies Les Fées Type 480 Cinderella or The Little Glass Slipper Cendrillon, ou la petite pantoufle de verre Type 510A Ricky of the Tuft Riquet à la Houppe Type 711 Little Thumb, Le petit Pouçet Type 327B Kinder- und Hausmärchen History of Fairy Tale Studies • 1812 & 1814 Jacob and Wilhelm publish volumes I and II of Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales). • Unlike earlier collections, the Grimms were not trying to be literary or original, but to preserve the oral tales of the common people. • Later editions expanded and standardized the tales. • They understood their revisions as recapturing the spirit of the oral tradition. Later folklorists are much more exact in recording variants! Kinder- und Hausmärchen Who also collected fairy tales? • After the Grimms, Franz von Schönwerth also collected tales, mostly in Bavaria. • His notes were discovered in 2009, and translated into English by Maria Tatar (2015). • Schönwerth‘s collection shows less polish and greater variety than the Grimm collection: bawdier, racier, with stronger female characters. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Who followed the Grimm brothers? • 1835 Hans Christian Andersen publishes Fairy Tales Told for Children, some such as ‘The Wild Swans’ and ‘The Princess on the Pea’ based on traditional folklore. • 1845 Norwegian Folk Tales, collected by Peter Christen Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe appears, includes ‘East of the Sun and West of the Moon’ and ‘The Three Billy Goats Gruff.’ • 1870-1910 The Golden Age of Illustration for children's books – Walter Crane, Gustave Dore, Arthur Rackham, Warwick Goble, et al. • 1866 Aleksandr Afanasyev collects and publishes his first volume of Russian fairy tales. Kinder- und Hausmärchen How are fairy tales adapted? • Most other European cultures also collect folklore in the style of the Grimms in the nineteenth century. • 1890 Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's ballet The Sleeping Beauty premieres in St. Petersburg. • 1893 Engelbert Humperdinck's opera, Hansel und Gretel premieres. • 1937 Walt Disney releases his first feature length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. • 1945 Sergei Prokofiev's ballet, Cinderella, premiers. • In the following decades, new print, television, and film versions of fairy tales appear regularly. Kinder- und Hausmärchen What is a Fairy Tale? • Grimm’s collection contains many kinds of stories, including the magical (or wonder) tales, humorous tall tales, animal fables, and realistic folk tales. • Originally oral folk tales, with countless variants throughout Europe. • There are no “original” versions of tales, only different variants. • Social context of tales changed when they were transformed into written literature. Kinder- und Hausmärchen What is a Fairy Tale? • Short stories in prose, originally for adolescents or young adults, but commonly for children nowadays (a development begun at the time of the Brothers Grimm). • A peasant perspective, quite unlike the aristocratic perspective in heroic legends or middle-class perspective of early modern legends. • Unlike legends, which deal with ostensibly historical events, fairy tales are set in a vaguely medieval, indeterminate time and place. Kinder- und Hausmärchen What is a Fairy Tale? • Fairy tales typically have no character development – strong contrasts between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters are typical. • Use of magic and magical items is common. • Familial setting is typical, often dysfunctional or incomplete nuclear family setting. Many tales present a child’s perspective of the action. • Family tensions tend to play important roles. • Strong reliance on stock characters and well-known motifs and plot structures. Kinder- und Hausmärchen What is a Fairy Tale? A few common fairy tale motifs: • Triumph of the youngest, laziest, dumbest, weakest, most oppressed, least promising, etc. • Triadic structure, circuitous journey with reversal of fortune. • (Familial) adversaries–establishment of improved and secure familial structure at end. • Helping figures, with magical objects and creatures. • Rewards in the form of honor, wealth, spouse, power. • Talking animals–animate world, with enchanted cosmos. • Happy end, poetic justice, reward and retribution. Kinder- und Hausmärchen What is a Fairy Tale? • It is difficult to generalize about folk tales. • Morally unambiguous tales a product of the modern concern for proper child-rearing. • “Original” versions of many fairy tales contain a lot of sex and violence. • Protagonists can be active or passive, male or female, successful or unsuccessful. • Tales may be innocent or cynical in tone. • Tales may support or subvert existing hierarchies. Kinder- und Hausmärchen How does one interpret fairy tales? • A Historical Approach to fairy tale research is very complicated. • “Origins” of fairy tales are impossible to trace, since motifs are common in Europe and even beyond – Cinderella stories are found everywhere. • Unlike many legends, there is absolutely no factual historical basis for folk tales. Actually, there are no truly realistic plots in any of the tales. Kinder- und Hausmärchen How does one interpret fairy tales? • A Psychological Approach Bruno Bettelheim argues that fairy tales present an internal psychological truth: “In a fairy tale, internal processes are externalized and become comprehensible as represented by the figures of the story and its events.” • Some Common Topics: Power and class relations, Freudian sexual fantasies, Jungian archetypes, cultural images, Christian and pagan ideologies and rites, collective class consciousness, etc. Kinder- und Hausmärchen How does one interpret fairy tales? • A Cultural Approach • Robert Darnton argues that “Folktales are historical documents, each colored by the mental life and culture of its epoch.” • Different variants of tales in one country or in different countries point to regional or cultural differences. • Details in fairy tales are often very arbitrary, depending on the interests of a particular audience. Kinder- und Hausmärchen How does one study Fairy Tales? • A Comparatist Approach • 1961 Stith Thompson expands and translates Finnish scholar Antti Aarne's The Types of the Folktale (1910) into English in 1961. • Further revisions done in2004 by Hans-Jörg Uther. • The ATU Classification System becomes the most widely used for classifying Indo-European folktales, cataloging some 2,500 basic plots and over 10,000 motifs. • There are dozens or hundreds of variants for all of the Grimm fairy tales. Kinder- und Hausmärchen How does one study Fairy Tales? • A Structuralist Approach • Vladimir Propp (1928) publishes Morphology of the Folktale (English translation 1958). He emphasizes the recurring structural features of folk and fairy tales. • Both the ATU classification system and Propp’s structural models are considered essential tools for the current study of folk tales. • Oral folk literature is difficult to interpret; a flexible, holistic method is probably best. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Typical Structure of a Folk Tale • Wish Fulfillment as Folk Tale structure • Frame with circuitous journey. • Dysfunctional family in opening frame. Suffering, helplessness and victimization of protagonist. • Adventures and tests in supernatural realm • Reversal of fortune, reward of marriage or power • Vengeance or punishment of villains – suffering projected onto the former oppressors. • Nearly everyone capable of cruelty and vengeance. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Fairy Tales and Wish Fulfillment • “The Fisherman and his Wife” is a good example of wish fulfillment. • A fisherman catches a talking flounder that is really an enchanted prince, so he lets him go. • His wife, however, makes repeated requests from the fish, since he now has an obligation to the family: cottage, castle, king, emperor, pope, God. • Enchanted flounder grants all their wishes, which eventually bring them back to the hovel in which they began. Be careful what you wish for! Kinder- und Hausmärchen Why and how did they edit the tales? • Lukewarm reviews led Wilhelm to edit the tales, with increasing changes in later editions, which removed the tales from their peasant origins. • Grimms aimed for a “Platonic ideal” of the folk tales as they understood them. • Transmission and translation of tales often involves censorship or bowdlerization. • Grimms emphasize bourgeois values: strict gender roles, strong work ethic, sexual virtue, importance of property. Kinder- und Hausmärchen How did the Grimms edit the tales? • Oral tales for young adults commonly dealt with the transition from puberty to adulthood. • Fairy tales did not originally teach lessons, but dealt with fears and anxieties of adolescents. • Revisions for children as a new audience caused sexual themes to be disguised or omitted. • Violent subject matter was actually increased in many fairy tales (unlike U.S. versions!). • Revisions standardized the narrative style, expanded the tales, added details. Kinder- und Hausmärchen How did the Grimms select the tales? • Tales that were obvious copies of foreign tales were usually deleted from later editions. • Fragments were sometimes combined with other tales to create a single, coherent tale. • Some tales, such as “How some children played at slaughtering” (77-79) were considered too gruesome for a children’s audience, and were deleted. • In general they kept tales that seemed to reflect German folk customs. Kinder- und Hausmärchen How did the Grimms edit the tales? • A comparison of the manuscript with the first edition illustrates some of the changes: expansion of details, dialogue, and conclusion. • “Briar Rose” in the manuscript version is less than half the length of the published version. • In the manuscript version, “everyone in the castle began to sleep, even the flies on the walls.” In the published version, the King, the courtly retinue, the pigeons, the dogs, the flies, the cook, the maid, the boy and even the fire in the hearth went to sleep! Kinder- und Hausmärchen Censorship and Fairy Tales Disney’s Tangled (2011). Good example of editing and revising of a fairy tale for new audiences. Disney interpretation of Rapunzel as repressed adolescent desire. Girl empowerment. Rapunzel AT 310 The Maiden in the Tower (Rapunzel) • Prelude of a husband and a wife wishing for a child. • Theft of rapunzel-lettuce leads to an agreement with the sorceress to collect the girl. • Rapunzel grows up to be a beautiful girl. She is locked away in a tower in the forest when she is twelve years old (hidden from boys with the onset of puberty!). • One day, a young prince sees the sorceress climbing the tower with the help of Rapunzel´s hair. • At night, he calls “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair for me!” • She meets the prince in her tower (cite 39.). Rapunzel Changes to Rapunzel • The first edition deals quite obviously with premarital sex and teenage pregnancy. • The twins are a sign of the great passion of the two young lovers. • Both are punished and tested by the sorceress, but their lover and perseverance lead to a happy end. • In later editions, the Grimms try to erase the pregnancy: The prince proposes marriage and promises to escape with her to his parents! (proper middle-class virtue). • The sorceress learns of their plan through a thoughtless comment by Rapunzel. The twins are retained, but the context changed to obscure the parents’ indelicate behavior. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Animal Bridegrooms • The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich (13-15) • ATU 440 The Frog Prince • Another example of revisions and differences in variants of a fairy tale! • In the popular American version, the princess kisses the frog who turns into a prince, and they live happily ever after… Kinder- und Hausmärchen Animal Bridegrooms • The German version presents more violence! • The Frog fetches her golden ball in return for her friendship and affection. • The Frog wants more from the princess than just a kiss (13). • The Frog follows the princess everywhere, even into her bed! • The girl is afraid of the Frog, so she throws him against the wall (3). Kinder- und Hausmärchen Animal Bridegrooms Kinder- und Hausmärchen Animal Bridegrooms Kinder- und Hausmärchen Animal Bridegrooms • “But the frog didn’t fall down dead. Instead, when he fell down on the bed, he became a handsome young prince. Well, now indeed he did become her dear companion, and she cherished him as she had promised, and in their delight they fell asleep together.” • The manuscript version is somewhat more direct: “But when he hit the wall, he fell down upon her bed and lay there as a beautiful young prince, so the king’s daughter lay herself down to him.” Kinder- und Hausmärchen Animal Bridegrooms • In later editions, Wilhelm Grimm erased all hints of sexual liberty. • “When he fell to the ground, he was no longer a frog but a prince with kind and beautiful eyes…” • Instead of lying in each other’s arms, they rush off to see the king and ask his permission to become man and wife. • Her father gives his blessing, they become “dear companions” and get married. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Other Animal Bridegrooms • “Beauty and the Beast” • “The Singing Springing Lark” • Adolescent heroines perceive their bridegrooms to be bestial and dangerous – monsters, wild animals – but succeed in rescuing or transforming them into attractive men. Domestication fantasy? • Psychological reading of the text emphasizes the transformation in the girl’s perception of masculinity rather than the physical transformation of the beast. • Adolescent anxiety with maturity and sexuality. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Prohibition, Transgression, Punishment • In “Bluebeard” (or variant “Fitcher’s Bird”), the bridegroom truly is a monster in human form. • The bride is given a key (or egg) for safekeeping, but her curiosity leads her to open a forbidden door and discover a monstrous secret. • Key/egg falls into blood; the stain is a mark of guilt. • The forbidden chamber represents carnal knowledge – the blood-stained key hints at the onset of puberty (loss of innocence), loss of virginity, or marital infidelity (different interpretations). Kinder- und Hausmärchen Prohibition, Transgression, Punishment • Oddly, narrators (and later editors) condemn her curiosity more than his serial murder! • Stories seem to deal with adolescent fear of adults’ secrets, of maturity, marriage, and sexuality. • In both “Bluebeard” and “Fitcher’s Fowl,” the heroine defeats the would-be bridegroom and returns to her family and to her brothers. • In effect, she returns to her childhood existence and no longer has to worry about confronting the horrors of marriage or sexuality. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Review of Interpretative Difficulties • Interpretation of fairy tales is complicated: 1. Many different variants of folk tales. 2. No one “original” authoritative text. 3. Details of variants are especially arbitrary. 4. Supernatural events invite interpretation. 5. “Simple” tales encourage allegorical readings. 6. Many interpretations tell us more about the anxieties of the interpreter than about the text! Fairy Tales Variants of Little Red Cap • Tame American version (based on Perrault’s story) is well known. • In another French variant, the heroine unwittingly consumes the flesh and blood of her grandmother, is called a slut by her cat, and performs a slow striptease for the wolf. • In an Italian variant, the wolf kills the mother, makes a latch cord of her tendons, a meat pie of her flesh, and wine from her blood. Fairy Tales Little Red Cap 85-87. • The German variant is slightly different: • Cake and Wine for grandmother. • Wicked Wolf tempts the “juicy morsel” with flowers and birds to distract her. • Wolf gobbles up the grandmother. • Big ears, big hands, terribly big mouth… • Wolf gobbles up Little Red Cap and snores. • A huntsman happens by, hears odd snoring… Fairy Tales Little Red Cap Fairy Tales Little Red Cap Fairy Tales Little Red Cap • The Huntsman wants to shoot the sleeping wolf, but fears harming Grandmother. • He cuts open the belly, and out jump Little Red Cap and Grandmother. • They fill his belly with large stones – he leaps up and falls down dead. Fairy Tales Little Red Cap • Wilhelm Grimm added a short epilogue and a moral for Little Red Cap: • The Huntsman gets the fur of the wolf. • Grandmother gets the cake and wine. • Little Red Cap gets the admonition never to stray from the path her mother has given her. • This nice little fairy tale has led to some surprising interpretations…. Fairy Tales Little Red Cap • Tale records contact with actual werewolves. • Little Red Cap represents the burning sun setting forth on her westward journey home. • Wolf represents male pregnancy envy, killed ironically by stones, symbols of his sterility. • Wolf is a projection of Little Red Cap’s pubertal sexual desire, an example of female self-assertion. • A parable of rape and female helplessness. • Usual reading: Don’t trust talking wolves. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Enhanced Gender Roles in Fairy Tales • Strictly defined gender roles created by the Brothers Grimm (originally more variation). • Boys use luck (and sometimes) wits to achieve power and wealth. Hard work never makes boys wealthy or successful! • Girls use obedience and willingness to work to achieve a proper marriage. • All female protagonists are beautiful – but industry and obedience make them desirable. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Enhanced Gender Roles in Fairy Tales • The changes in Rumpelstiltskin illustrate some of the gender roles of the Brothers Grimm. • In the manuscript edition, the girl’s unusual gift – she can only spin gold from flax – is portrayed as a source of misery. • The first edition presents a more typical heroine, who “sits and weeps” because she cannot spin flax into gold. • The little man’s aid makes her seem industrious and capable, which prompts the king to marry her. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Gender roles • “Mother Holle” (81-83) a good example of the tale of the kind and unkind daughters. • The kind daughter willingly undertakes demeaning and difficult tasks, and reaps a great reward. She demonstrates the prime female virtues of humility, obedience, and diligence. • The unkind daughter refuses to demean or debase herself, does not learn humility, and is punished for her disobedience. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Patriarchal Control • “King Thrushbeard” (167-170) is also a good example of gender roles as emphasized by the Grimms’ patriarchal perspective. • The princess does not want to obey her father, so he marries her to the first beggar to appear. • She must learn peasant chores and servant work. • The “beggar” humiliates her several times to teach her the value of humility and obedience. • Once she learns “her place,” she is rewarded with a marriage to her true husband, King Thrushbeard. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Male Heroes • Active male heroes are actually very rare. • More typical are the young, naïve, stupid boys who lack common sense. • Peasant perspective is clear in that not a single male hero ever succeeds through hard work or study. • Compassion and humility make hero “good,” allow for his eventual reward. • The goal for male heroes is the transition into adulthood, with successful integration into the established social order, status, spouse, and wealth. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Male Heroes • “Good Bowling and Card Playing” (21-23) features a typical naïve hero. His “bravery” is not far removed from foolhardiness. • The tale is altered to “The boy who went forth to learn fear” in later editions. (Wagner used this figure in his characterization of Siegfried in his Ring Cycle opera). • He succeeds in situations where his lack of sense is an advantage – in reversing his fate, he seems to have reversed his character traits as well. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Male Heroes • “The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs” and “Puss-in-Boots” also present tales with clever (rather than hard-working) male protagonists. • Both tales have important helper figures who have the qualities needed to aid the hero and provide him with the objects he will need. • In acquiring outside aid and objects, the hero symbolically acquires these qualities as well. • Tales end with reversal of fortune, providing the hero with wealth, position, power, and a spouse. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Parental Desire for the Child • Dysfunctional families and patterns of abuse are a common beginning point in fairy tales. • The theme of incest is not uncommon in the manuscript versions of some of the tales. • Jacob and Wilhelm sought to erase images of parental misbehavior, or to refocus such desires in ways that were more socially acceptable. • “All Fur” (“Thousandfurs”) and “The Maiden Without Hands” both dealt in early versions with a father’s desire for his daughter. Kinder- und Hausmärchen The Maiden Without Hands 99-103 • This story is not well known in the U.S. • A miller falls into poverty, and is tricked by the devil into trading his daughter for wealth. • The sinless girl is too clean for the devil. • The father chops off her hands so that the devil can take her – she complies, but is still too clean! • The girl takes her hands and leaves home. • A prince discovers her in his orchard and marries her. Kinder- und Hausmärchen The Maiden Without Hands • She gives birth, but the devil tricks them into banishing her and the child. • She lives in the forest; a miracle returns her hands. • King learns of devil’s deception, searches and finds the girl in a happy reunion. • The Devil is an insertion; in an earlier version, the Father wanted to marry the daughter. • Her refusal led him to cut off her hands and her breasts. That is why she did not want to stay with him, despite all his money. Kinder- und Hausmärchen The Maiden Without Hands • Wilhelm Grimm was able to erase the theme of incest by introducing the devil. • Incest also appears in other tales, such as “All Fur,” in which the daughter runs away from home to avoid a father who wants to marry her. • Much more common are fairy tales with strong suggestions of Oedipal and Electra complexes – the child desires the parent of the opposite sex. • Grimms also actively erased such desire where it was obvious in the text. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Freudian Electra Complex • Electra Complex places a girl in competition with her mother for her father’s love. • Most Stepmothers in tales were originally mothers! (Wilhelm changed that). • Note change of perspective in the audience; focus changes from adult to child. Evil Stepmother / Witch / Mother-in-law Kinder- und Hausmärchen Hansel and Gretel • Originally, the mother wanted to leave the children in the forest. • The Mother in “Mother Holle” also transformed into a wicked stepmother with a step-child. • Child abuse, abandonment and infanticide are often seen as Freudian projections of childhood resentment as parental malice. • That is, a child’s “I hate you” is refashioned here as “you hate me.” Kinder- und Hausmärchen Hansel and Gretel • • • • • The supernatural realm contains heightened versions of the problems faced at home. The witch of the forest figures as the wicked stepmother without her disguise. By overcoming the obstacles in the magic forest, they solve their true problems at home. Death of the witch coincides with the disappearance of their mother at home. “Little Brother and Little Sister” has similar conflict with a wicked stepmother/witch. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Little Snow White • Little Snow White • Disney’s first fulllength feature film(1937) . • The villainess in the first edition was her own mother – not a wicked stepmother. • Good example of Electra complex. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Little Snow White • Many folklorists see the voice in the mirror as the father figure – when he decides the daughter is more attractive than his wife, she is forced to eliminate the competition. • In the manuscript, Little Snow White only had to “cook for them,” but Wilhelm exaggerated her work ethic by adding quite a few chores! (175) • The evil queen is punished at the wedding by being forced to wear glowing iron slippers and dancing until she falls down dead. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Snow White • Some recent film versions of Snow White! Kinder- und Hausmärchen Freudian Family Romance • According to one psychological interpretation, the mother is split into two different maternal images, a good, absent mother, and an evil stepmother. • Generally dysfunctional families of fairy tales often reflect Freudian “Family Romance.” • Children imagine themselves misplaced in the wrong family – their true home is much nicer, wealthier, more respected… • Orphan and foundling tales reflect such wishes. Family Romances The Goose Girl • The tale describe the attempts of the protagonist to be accepted in her true home. • The “Goose Girl” is a princess whose servant has stolen her position and relegated her to a life of poverty and labor. Why should she get everything and I have to suffer? • She is eventually recognized and restored – while her adversary is killed as punishment. • “Brementown Musicians” (added in later editions) also portrays search for a suitable home. Kinder- und Hausmärchen The Juniper Tree 148-157. • Some fairy tales do not fall into any neat categories, such as ‘The Juniper Tree’: • This tale contains a dysfunctional family, an evil stepmother, child abuse, infanticide, cannibalism, transformations, magical animals, and murder. • The good mother gives birth to a boy, then dies. • She is buried beneath the Juniper tree. • Next wife has a good daughter, but she mistreats the boy and favors her own girl. Kinder- und Hausmärchen The Juniper Tree • The mother kills the boy, blames the girl, cooks him in a stew that only the father eats. Delicious! • The girl takes her brother’s bones to the Juniper Tree, which transforms them into a talking bird. • The singing bird gets a golden chain, a pair of shoes, and a heavy millstone. • Father hears the bird, gets the golden chain. • Marlene hears the bird, gets the red shoes. • And the evil mother… Fairy Tales The Juniper Tree Kinder- und Hausmärchen The Juniper Tree • Mother hears the bird, gets the millstone on her head! • The little boy returns to his usual shape. • Despite his wife’s death, the father is now “very happy,” and the three of them go back inside, sit down at the table, and eat. • This tale was the one that inspired Brentano and von Arnim to ask the Grimms to collect fairy tales! • If you have a good interpretation of this fairy tale, I would love to hear it! Kinder- und Hausmärchen Folk Tales • Unlike fairy tales, which are conservative and tend to uphold a strong patriarchal sense of order and propriety, Folk Tales reflect a peasant perspective that relishes inversions of the social order. • Folk tale heroes come from most downtrodden social levels, peasants, retired soldiers, tailors, etc. • Folk tales tend to be more satirical and more “realistic” than the supernatural fairy tales. • Folk tales more often offer adult perspectives rather than a child’s point of view. Kinder- und Hausmärchen The Blue Light 383-386 • “The Blue Light” describes the life of a retired soldier – he is old and useless, so the King has sent him away with nothing. He is at the bottom of the social order, has neither money nor property. • A witch exploits his labor, but he gains a magical blue light that summons a little black dwarf (like a genie in a bottle). • The dwarf aids him in getting his revenge, eventually gaining the kingdom and the king’s daughter. Folk heroes are ruthless to competitors. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Dr. Know-it-All • “Dr. Know-It-All” is a good example of a folk tale in which a poor (though foolish) man uses his wits (and his luck!) to improve his station in life. • Medical profession mocked from a peasant perspective –to be a doctor one needs only a picture book, some nice clothes, and a sign! • The peasant acquires the superficial appearance of a doctor, and is then treated by everyone as if her were indeed wise and learned. • A little Luck helps him to earn his fortune. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Jew in the Thornbush 360-363 • Early variants of the story cited by Grimms contain antiCatholic rather than anti-semitic sentiments. • The Jew in the story is accused by the simpleton of having “skinned enough people” and now “getting the justice” that he deserves.” (Jewish peddlers and moneylenders had the reputation of cheating peasants). • His mistreatment of the Jew (torturing him and extorting his money, then denying him justice) appears to contradict the tale’s premise that the simpleton has a good heart. • The unquestioned anti-Semitism of the tale is given justification in the ending, when the Jew (again, under torture) confesses that he had stolen all of his money. • The reversal at the end represents a typical folk tale fantasy, that peasants can invert social power hierarchies. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Folk Tale Heroines • While fairy tale heroines demonstrate their virtue through a strong work ethic (Cinderella, Mother Holle, Snow White), folk tale heroines try to avoid work! • The girl in “Rumpelstilzkin” cannot spin straw into gold, and does not ever try – she succeeds in avoiding work through the intercession of the evil little man. • Another example of work avoidance is the tale “The Lazy Spinner.” Kinder- und Hausmärchen The Lazy Spinner 418-420 • A lazy wife wishes to avoid spinning, and tells her husband she does not have the proper tools. • She tricks him into thinking that carving a new reel for her would be dangerous. • Eventually she tricks him into thinking that he is responsible for ruining the wool, so he never asks her to work again! • “The three Spinners” (added in later editions) also portrays rewards given for not working! • Triumph of the laziest girl! Reversal of usual order. Kinder- und Hausmärchen Grimm Summary • The collection of the Grimm brothers was not the first publication of fairy tales, but it was the first comprehensive collection, and the first to attempt to record tales as they might have been told in an authentic folk context. • They were enormously influential, not only on other scholars who started collecting folk tales in different countries, but on literary figures in Germany, who began to write literary fairy tales (Kunstmärchen) imitating the style of the folk tales. • Their influence continues. Folk tales are adapted for modern audiences to this day.