In German cultural and literary history, fairy tales are much more than nice, little stories for children that feature cute, talking animals and princesses who marry princes and live happily ever after; they are important texts about German cultural history and they may even give us a glimpse into the methods of crime reporting in the days before print media. Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm are the most famous collectors of fairy tales, but they were by no means the first in German literary history. Earlier in the 19th century Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim compiled folktales and folksongs in their fairy tale collection The Boy’s Magic Horn (1805). The publications of these and later the Grimms’ tales served a larger, culturally unifying purpose in the first half of the 19th century, and many other German authors used the “fairy tale style” and fairy tale themes and motifs for their literary fairy tales. In this class, we will read a selection of Grimm fairy tales, literary fairy tales from the 19th century by authors such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Ludwig Tieck, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Clemens Brentano, Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué and Wilhelm Hauff and essays by some of the most well-known critics of the literary tradition of the fairy tale. We will also view cinematic versions of fairy tales and episodes of the television series Grimm to see how traditional fairy tales are being interpreted for modern society. Taught in German and English.
Satisfies Core Area IV (World Languages and Culture or Humanities and the Arts) and the Franklin College Literature requirement.