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A First Book of Fairy Tales

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Love and devotion, fun, and happiness are consistent ideologies projected in Disney’s reception of fairy-tale animations and films. It reflects the traditional public attitude toward the place of women in Western culture, as portraying princesses as passive vessels of innocence and virtue.

As Christopher Finch (1973) had declared, “Disney is a primary force in the expression and formation of American mass consciousness. And people who are from different social and cultural contexts have different ways to interpret and determine the meaning from the same text. Where Zipes argues that individual subversion is essential, you argue that it’s about the tales ability to cohere and say something as a group.The Lyons edition – unless Penguin has re-edited it recently – is much less useable because it has no running heads with the titles of stories so you never know where you are. At the turn of the twentieth century, influential French filmmaker Georges Méliès, a pioneer of fairytale film, devoted himself to experimenting with creating narratives in cinema. It was until the nineteenth century that fairy tales took a turn to the field of children’s literature.

The overall effect of Scheherazade’s stories is to deepen and enrich the tyrant’s understanding of people’s behaviour. There have been a number of new editions in the past ten years or so and the extended list you sent me before we whittled it down suggested you were torn between (at least) two: a two-volume edition translated by Husain Haddawy, published by Norton in 2008, and a three-volume translation by Malcolm Lyons, edited by Robert Irwin and published by Penguin in 2010. Izmelda is a dragon who wants to meet a princess, so she finds one— but Princess Penelope needs to hurry to get to her class because witches are chasing her.

The renowned child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim (1989), in his influential study of fairy tales, The Uses of Enchantment, claims that “nothing can be as enriching and satisfying to child and adult alike as the folk fairy tale. But when she encounters a whopping thirty-three bears, the strange-talking Bliim, or even three little pigs, the stories end a bit differently. In actual social existence, creators appear or intend to create stories encoded with a set of dispositions and preferences. By attending to the reception of fairy tales, this study reveals a great understanding of how fairy tales generate meaning and function in contemporary society. Donald Haase raised the question of ownership about the reception and cultural ownership of fairy tales.

Whether the Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault, literary fairy tales incorporate a moral code that reflects upon the basic instincts of human beings as moral animals and suggests ways to channel these instincts for personal and communal happiness ( Zipes, 2006a). From the very earliest times, even in the second century, there’s the knowledge that this is all a bit ridiculous and silly.Fairy tales are high fantasy based on stories that are not only not true, but that couldn't possibly be true, while Legends are sometimes perceived as real or plausible. For example, Catholic hagiography is actually full of fairy tale motifs, and fairy tales themselves were almost certainly coloured by Catholic hagiography. What has happened to sexuality and to young women, and attitudes around pornography and how one might use it in this way or that, is considerable and one wonders what she would have thought of it all. With all of that influence fizzing around her, how out of the blue was what she was doing in the UK? Think of Miroslav Holub who showed how Czech tales played their part in the Prague Spring, and think of the work of Ursula Le Guin.

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