Academic journal article Marvels & Tales

Grimm Legacies: The Magic Spell of the Grimms' Folk and Fairy Tales

Academic journal article Marvels & Tales

Grimm Legacies: The Magic Spell of the Grimms' Folk and Fairy Tales

Article excerpt

Grimm Legacies: The Magic Spell of the Grimms' Folk and Fairy Tales. By Jack Zipes. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015. 267 pp.

Grimm Legacies is a must read for anyone with a sincere interest in the lives of the Brothers Grimm and fairy-tale scholarship. internationally renowned expert and esteemed fairy-tale guru Jack Zipes explores seminal questions in his erudite work, such as "what is legacy, and what was the corpus of folk and fairy tales that the Brothers Grimm passed on to the German people? why have the Grimms' so-called German tales spread throughout the world and become so universally international?" (2-3). Divided into an insightful introduction, six comprehensive chapters, and a concise epilogue, Grimm Legacies provides a formidable overview of the origins, evolution, reception, and impact of the Grimms' world-famous stories.

Zipes offers a compelling opening for the reader by explaining the intentions and concepts of the Grimms in writing their Children's and Household Tales. Drawing on works by André Jolles, Jeffrey Peck, and Jens sennewald, Zipes carves out fundamental aspects of the Grimms' works and lives that elucidate their legacy of tales and how this legacy spread beyond German borders. interspersed with excerpts from authentic sources and private correspondence by the Grimms, a portrayal of the "mythic" peasant Märchenfrau Dorothea viehmann, and a comparison between three different beginnings of "The Frog King," the introduction serves as an amuse-gueule to titillate intellectual appetites.

The first chapter highlights the pivotal role of edgar Taylor as pioneer, that is, the first english "translator" of the Grimms' tales. Zipes convincingly argues that Taylor's German Popular Stories (1823, 1826) radically changed the destiny of the "German" fairy tales and therefore deems his work "r evolutionary" and "extraordinary" (37). Chapter 2 focuses on the massmediated hype of fairy tales and presents the reader with some juicy tidbits. Zipes critiques that fairy tales are "too often transformed into trivial pulp by the globalized culture industry" (58) but partly also blames the Grimms for hyping their own tales. By shaping their second edition of 1819 with new paratexts, such as the preface and the use of Dorothea viehmann's portrait, the Grimms wanted to make their collection more accessible to a larger bourgeois reading public and attract a younger target audience. Zipes then moves on to sharply criticize the contemporary hyping of fairy tales, denouncing Catherine Hardwicke's Red Riding Hood (2011), Tommy wirkola's Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (2013), and many Disney productions as films that "'thrive' parasitically by draining meaning and from warping memetic stories" (73). To truly read a literary work of art, Zipes calls for a critical "deflation" of hype.

The Americanization of the Grimms' fairy tales is at the heart of the third chapter. in painstaking, almost encyclopedic detail, Zipes concentrates on the english and American literary translations of the Grimms' tales from 1823 to the present and then casts a critical eye over their cinematic adaptations in the age of globalization. Although Zipes looks favorably on some filmmakers, such as Jim Henson and Tom Davenport, he strongly laments the tendency of American film and television adaptations to dumb down, distort, and fracture the Grimms' stories beyond recognition. in his thought-provoking assessment of the ongoing Americanization of the Grimms' tales, Zipes raises essential questions about the consequences of such a development, ranging from fairy tales as commodities in American popular culture to the dominance of Americanized, homogenized fairy-tale retellings in the world. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.