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Grimm: Why The Stories Have Cast A Spell On Us

Analyze what about the Grimm fairytales causes them to be recycled artistically age after age. What is their cultural legacy in the Western world? "Children’s and Household Tales," now commonly known as "Grimms’ Fairy Tales," has supposedly been translated into over 100 languages, and besides the Bible, is the most commonly purchased work throughout the world. These tales continually serve as a source of inspiration for writers, artists, and filmmakers. Include a discussion of Grimm adaptations throughout the centuries: some suggestions are the poem "Der Erlk├Ânig" by Goethe, the Pre-Raphealite painting "The Council Chamber" by Edward Burne-Jones, and a few modern films ("Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters," "Into The Woods," the television show "Grimm," etc.)

  • I really really love this topic. Fairy tales, especially the Grimm's recordings, have shaped so much of the fiction archetypes for modern pop culture. Tracing where these archetypes show up is really interesting, and in some cases go forward to the presents or back as far as ancient mythology. – SomeOtherAmazon 9 years ago
  • I love fairy tale retellings, so this sounds like a great topic. It also might be good to point out how the stories have changed, how instead of creating new ones they were redone to be less harsh, while keeping the morals for which they were written. – Fox 9 years ago

Can we have new fairy tales?

So many of our "modern" fairytales are retellings of the old (Hans Christian Anderson, the Brothers Grimm), but why is that? Can movies like Frozen be considered modern fairytales?

  • I think is helpful to read here A Hero of a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell. It talks about the act of storytelling all along human history and a formula that has made all these stories successful. It also proposes that the importance of a story is not what you tell, but how you tell it. – Mariana Aramburu 9 years ago
  • Frozen is such a loose adaptation of the Snow Queen that I think it's fair to say it is its an entirely new fairy tale borrowing elements from an older one. When I think of a "modern fairy tale" though, the term makes me think of a modern 20th/21st century setting. We don't see many fairy tales in a modern setting that aren't just tacky rehashing of classics, but I think I would consider Edward Scissorhands a modern fairy tale. It's told in a very fairy tale-like format, with the old woman telling the story to the child, and it's got very obvious fantasy and romance traits. – VidalChavez 9 years ago
  • Also Charlotte's Web – VidalChavez 9 years ago
  • This is a great idea that deserves attention. Frozen is most definitely a modern attempt at updating the fairy tale tradition, albeit it exploits Hans Christian Andersen rather than updates his work. Disney and Pixar are the source for today's "new" fairy tales but the great conflict of interest in today's world is that everything costs so much to produce and behind it all is always the pursuit of profit. How can anyone tell the truth if the truth might upset the audience? – OldTobyTook 9 years ago