As the first text in the collection of the Brothers Grimm, the fairy tale “The Frog Prince” has attained a wide and popular international dissemination. It is a folk narrative of maturation, liberation, and the acceptance of responsibility for one’s actions and promises. In the traditional German variant the princess liberates herself and breaks the spell of the prince turned into a frog by throwing the ugly creature against the wall, but in many Anglo-American variants the spell is overcome by the princess kissing the animal. I address the beginning, spread, significance, and eventual popularity of this kiss motif, which certainly emphasizes the sexual implications of the original tale. As has been the case with other widely known folktales, “The Frog Prince” caught the imagination of visual artists and poets, who reduced the fairy tale primarily to this singular kiss motif. After a discussion of a few of these adaptations, I concentrate on how the fairy tale with its underlying courtship message has now been summarized in a proverbial formula.


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pp. 104-126
Launched on MUSE
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