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Fairy Tale as Myth/Myth as Fairy Tale

Jack Zipes

Publication Year: 2013

" Explores the historical rise of the literary fairy tale as genre in the late seventeenth century. In his examinations of key classical fairy tales, Zipes traces their unique metamorphoses in history with stunning discoveries that reveal their ideological relationship to domination and oppression. Tales such as Beauty and the Beast, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and Rumplestiltskin have become part of our everyday culture and shapers of our identities. In this lively work, Jack Zipes explores the historical rise of the literary fairy tale as genre in the late seventeenth century and examines the ideological relationship of classic fairy tales to domination and oppression in Western society. The fairy tale received its most "mythic" articulation in America. Consequently, Zipes sees Walt Disney's Snow White as an expression of American male individualism, film and literary interpretations of L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz as critiques of American myths, and Robert Bly's Iron John as a misunderstanding of folklore and traditional fairy tales. This book will change forever the way we look at the fairy tales of our youth.

Published by: The University Press of Kentucky


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pp. 1-3


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p. 4-4


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pp. 5-7


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pp. vii-9

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x


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pp. xi-xii

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pp. 1-16

Attached, almost as an afterthought, to the end of Mircea Eliade's book Myth and Reality1 is a highly stimulating essay entitled "Myths and Fairy Tales." First published as a review of a book that dealt with the relationship of the fairy tale to the heroic legend and myth,2 Eliade's essay was concerned not only with demonstrating the differences between...

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1. The Origins of the Fairy Tale

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pp. 17-48

In his endeavor to establish the origins of the fairy tale for children, Peter Brooks stated that "when at the end of the seventeenth century Perrault writes down and publishes tales which had been told for indeterminate centuries-and would continue to be told, and would be collected in varying...

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2. Rumpelstiltskin and the Decline of Female Productivity

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pp. 49-71

Rumpelstiltskin is a disturbing fairy tale, not because we never really know the identity of the tiny mysterious creature who spins so miraculously, even when he is named by the queen, the former miller's daughter. It is disturbing because the focus of folklorists, psychoanalysts, and literary critics...

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3. Breaking the Disney Spell

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pp. 72-95

It was not once upon a time, but in a certain time in history, before anyone knew what was happening, Walt Disney cast a spell on the fairy tale, and it has been held captive ever since. He did not use a magic wand or demonic powers. On the contrary, Disney employed the most up-to-date technological

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4. Spreading Myths about Iron John

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pp. 96-118

When I first heard the title of Robert Bly's book about men, Iron John, I made several quick associations1: man of steel, superman, invincible force, solid, but flying through the air faster than a speeding bullet. Explosive. The savior. Reliable. Law and order. John, not Jack. Formality. The Christian...

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5. Oz as American Myth

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pp. 119-138

Utopian novels are written in the indicative about the political subjunctive. They treat contemporary political and social conditions and raise questions about how they might or should be changed. Whether conservative or progressive, the narrative strategies of different authors intend to distance...

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6. The Contemporary American Fairy Tale

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pp. 139-161

You can always tell when Christmas is approaching in America. Sometime in November the bookstores begin displaying glossy fairy-tale books with attractive colors and startling designs in their windows. It is almost like magic, and the store windows appear to be enchanted by these marvelous...


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pp. 162-174


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pp. 175-185


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pp. 186-192

E-ISBN-13: 9780813143903
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813118901

Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2013