The irresistible fairy tale : the cultural and social history of a genre.

By: Zipes, Jack, 1937-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Princeton : Princeton University Press, 2013Description: xvii, 235 pages ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0691159556.Subject(s): Customs | Social science | Fairy tales-Social aspects | Fairy tales - History and criticismDDC classification: 398.21ZIP
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

<p>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.</p> <br> <p>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.</p> <br> <p>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.</p>

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • List of Illustrations (p. ix)
  • Preface (p. xi)
  • Acknowledgments (p. xvii)
  • 1 The Cultural Evolution of Storytelling and Fairy Tales: Human Communication and Memetics (p. 1)
  • 2 The Meaning of Fairy Tale within the Evolution of Culture (p. 21)
  • 3 Remaking "Bluebeard," or Good-bye to Perrault (p. 41)
  • 4 Witch as Fairy/Fairy as Witch: Unfathomable Baba Yagas (p. 55)
  • 5 The Tales of Innocent Persecuted Heroines and Their Neglected Female Storytellers and Collectors (p. 80)
  • 6 Giuseppe Pitrè and the Great Collectors of Folk Tales in the Nineteenth Century (p. 109)
  • 7 Fairy-Tale Collisions, or the Explosion of a Genre (p. 135)
  • Appendix A Sensationalist Scholarship: A "New" History of Fairy Tales (p. 157)
  • Appendix B Reductionist Scholarship: A "New" Definition of the Fairy Tale (p. 175)
  • Notes (p. 191)
  • Bibliography (p. 209)
  • Index (p. 227)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Zipes (emer., Univ. of Minnesota, Twin Cities) is the undisputed "king" of the literary criticism of fairy tales kingdom. His books on the tales number more than 30 and stretch over three decades. He brings a Marxist, feminist lens to fairy tales, and that approach is again evident in this book, which also embraces strands from evolutionary psychology, cultural anthropology, biology, memetics, cognitive philosophy, and linguistics. Taking up diverse topics, the author explores "the history of mediations that have enabled fairy-tale seeds to blossom, flourish, and become one of the most irresistible as well as inexplicable cultural genres in the world." In seven chapters, Zipes proposes a pathway by which oral tales were replicated as memes; discusses the key role of Madame d'Aulnoy in creating the concept of fairy tales; reviews Catherine Breillat's filmic adaptation of the Bluebeard legend; offers reasons why fairies and witches have been linked; undertakes literary archaeology to resurrect four women storytellers and collectors (and one male) from the 19th century; and introduces the reader to some contemporary women artists' intertextual rendition of the tales. A rich, persuasive, magical brew, graced by seven illustrations. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readers. E. R. Baer Gustavus Adolphus College