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

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

by Jack Zipes
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691153388

ISBN-13: 9780691153384

Pub. Date: 04/08/2012

Publisher: Princeton University Press

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

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Overview

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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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691153384
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
04/08/2012
Pages:
248
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations ix

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xvii

Chapter 1: The Cultural Evolution of Storytelling and Fairy Tales: Human Communication and Memetics 1

Chapter 2: The Meaning of Fairy Tale within the Evolution of Culture 21

Chapter 3: Remaking "Bluebeard," or Good-bye to Perrault 41

Chapter 4: Witch as Fairy/Fairy as Witch: Unfathomable Baba Yagas 55

Chapter 5: The Tales of Innocent Persecuted Heroines and Their Neglected Female Storytellers and Collectors 80

Chapter 6: Giuseppe Pitr? and the Great Collectors of Folk Tales in the Nineteenth Century 109

Chapter 7: Fairy-Tale Collisions, or the Explosion of a Genre 135

Appendix A: Sensationalist Scholarship: A "New" History of Fairy Tales 157

Appendix B: Reductionist Scholarship: A "New" Definition of the Fairy Tale 175

Notes 191

Bibliography 209

Index 227

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