folk and fairy tales -- history and criticism

The Grimm Reader by Maria Tatar

The Grimm Reader by Maria Tatar

Modernized versions of traditional fairy tales have become popular in recent years, with television series such as ABC’s Once Upon a Time and graphic novels such as Bill Willingham’s Fables providing creative and original narratives utilizing characters and concepts from old folk tales. Although popular, these newer variations on older fairy tales have created controversy for altering the traditional characterizations and stories that many people grew up with. This exposes a major flaw in many people’s understanding of fairy tales and traditional folk culture—which versions are the “most correct” version of the story, and why? Maria Tatar’s The Grimm Reader is a collection of many of the traditional fairy tales recorded by the Brothers Grimm, providing an English translation of some of the oldest written versions of these stories.  Notable for being far more violent than the “traditional” versions of the fairy tales popularized in the Victorian period (and later, by Disney films), the typical Grimm story is a combination of children in jeopardy, adults that range from neglectful to destructive, and flat narrative that is driven by plot rather than by characterization.

The Uses of Enchantment: the Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

By Bruno Bettelheim

Go to catalog

The well-known and controversial child psychologist gave readers a moving revelation of the enormous and irreplaceable value of fairy tales - how they educate, support and liberate the emotions of children.

Reserve this title

The Vanishing Hitchhiker: American Urban Legends and Their Meanings

By Jan Harold Brunvand

Go to catalog

Urban legends--we've all repeated them. The Internet is full of them. This is the book that made the general public aware of this form of folklore. The culmination of twenty years of collection and research The Vanishing Hitchhiker remains a classic. Other books of urban legends by the same author include Curses! Broiled Again! , Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid: The Book of Scary Urban Legends, and The Encyclopedia of Urban Legends.

Reserve this title

The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories

By Christopher Booker

Go to catalog

From The Epic of Gilgemesh to Jaws and Schindler's List, Christopher Booker examines in detail the stories that underlie literature and the plots that are basic to story telling through the ages. He examines the plots of films, opera libretti, folk tales, myths and the contemporary novel and short story. Underlying the stories he examines are Seven Basic Plots: rags to riches; the quest; voyage and return; the hero as monster; rebirth and so on. Booker shows that the images and stories serve a far deeper and more significant purpose in our lives than we have realised.
In the definition of these basic plots, Booker shows us we are entering a realm in which the recognition of the plots proves only to be the gateway. We are in fact uncovering a kind of hidden universal language: a nucleus of situations and figures which are the very stuff from which stories are made.

Reserve this title

The Hero with a Thousand Faces

By Joseph Campbell

Go to catalog

This influential study traces the story of the hero's journey and transformation through virtually all the mythologies of the world. Originally published in 1949, it has inspired generations of students and artists and sold nearly one million copies in various editions.

Reserve this title

Off with Their Heads! Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood

By Maria Tatar

Go to catalog

This is a study of the literary transformation of European folklore into cautionary and exemplary tales for children by such writers as the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault. Examining these fairy tales from a feminist point of view the author brings a new perspective to the familiar tales.

Reserve this title