In the Grimms’ “Frau Holle” (ATU 480) enchantment figures as a temporally distinct realm, a place of encounter rich with potential for queer interpretation. The abused, young stepdaughter who falls down a well into Frau Holle’s vernal, excessively abundant realm benefits from the unusually tender and honest relationship that develops between her and the old woman who invites her company and service. No ordinary old lady, Holle is the powerful avatar of the mythic Mother Hulda, a beneficent Norse/Germanic goddess. Read through the bent lens of queer temporality theory, Holle’s anachronistic world becomes the perfect place for the girl to enjoy a period of arrested development, as symbolic, utopian fantasies concerning gender, sexuality, kinship, and identity are played out under Holle’s all-knowing watch.


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pp. 42-63
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