Fairytales In Modern Storytelling
TWO OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF FAIRYTALES
- the “serene, anonymous” voice in which it’s told
- the “conventional, stock figures” who inhabit it.
This is according to American poet James Merrill , as described at the opening of “The Book of Ephraim”.
Hansel and Gretel
- by Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti
- by Anthony Browne
- Into The Forest by Anthony Browne
- Hop O’ My Thumb by Charles Perrault
The Pied Piper Of Hamelin — part legend, part fairytale
FAIRYTALES RE-VISIONED AND RETOLD
There are literally hundreds of publishers who produce and market cheap versions of the Grimms’ tales as pretexts to conceal their profit-making motives. These duplications merely reinforce static nations of the nineteenth-century fairy tales and leave anachronistic values and tastes unquestioned. Whatever changes are made in these duplications–and changes are always made–they tend to be in the name of an ignorant conservatism that upholds arbitrary notions of propriety, for many people believe that there is such a thing as a “proper” Grimms’ fairy tale. In contrast, the reversions of the Grimms’ pre-texts, to use the terms coined by Stephens and McCallum, adulterate the Grimms’ tales by adding ingredients, taking away some elements, and reconstructing them to speak to contemporary audiences in different sociocultural contexts.
– Jack Zipes, Sticks and Stones
Why write dark versions of children’s stories? Putting aside the fact that fairytales were not for children, Christina Henry explains:
Retelling stories is about as old as storytelling itself. Each generation’s storytellers takes elements from stories they heard as children. They’ll mash those elements with their own ideas and suddenly the story becomes something completely new. No story has survived untouched throughout the ages – even the so-called “classic” fairy tales do this. If you’re familiar with the Greek story of Cupid and Psyche there are an awful lot of similar elements from that tale in the French story “Beauty and the Beast” as well as in “Cinderella.” And elements of “Beauty and the Beast” also turn up in the Norse tale “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.”
Storytellers love to take familiar plots and give them a twist. When you take an existing story and adapt it for your own you are making a connection – a connection with every storyteller who told their own version of that story, and a connection with every audience that has loved some variation of that story. It allows the writer to create a kind of shorthand with the audience – if you like “x,” then you’ll find familiar things in this new version of the story. We take comfort in the familiar and relish the new that’s mixed in, and something fresh and original is created from that mixture.
Myths and folktales are assumed to be the very first stories in the history of humankind, closely related to rites of passage. Thus, a fairytale becomes a travel instruction for a young person on the way toward adulthood, directions on exactly how to behave in various situations. […] The hero’s task in a folktale is totally impossible for an “ordinary” human being, it is always a symbolic or allegorical depiction. Allegories (like Dante’s Divina Commedia or Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress) are also travel instructions. But the addressee knows that you cannot die and then rise from the dead, nor be eaten by a whale and then come out again, nor descend into the realm of death, and so on. When the March sisters try to follow Bunyan’s instructions for a journey, they have to “translate” the allegory into more everyday conditions. […] The modern version of a travel instruction is formula fiction in all its forms: crime novel, science fiction, horror, romance, soap opera, and so on. The addressee of these texts also knows that the story has very little to do with life. On the contrary, the text is based on detachment, especially through its exotic settings and incredible events. Many scholars have noted the similarities between fairytales and formula fiction. As early as the 1920s Propp suggested that his model for folktale analysis could be applied to novels of chivalry and other texts with fixed narrative structures.
–Maria Nikolajeva, From Mythic to Linear: Time in Children’s Literature
- Why We Need Fairytales from The Savvy Source
- 8 Reasons Why Fairytales Are Essential To Childhood from Imagination Soup
- Are Fairytales Out Of Fashion? from Slate, who need to take a closer look at the story app world.
- Gender-swapped Fairytales which are anything but Grimm from The Mary Sue, and more at Huffington Post
- Can Fairytales Survive In The Age Of Kindle and Facebook and Twitter? notes from an RNZ interview with Maria Tatar
- Why Do Some Fairytales Survive So Well?
- Robin Hood And The Success Myth: How Fairytales Damage Men, from The Good Men Project
- Do Fairy Tales Encourage Good Imaginations, or Teach Our Kids to Lie? from BlogHer
- Top 10 Gruesome Fairy Tale Origins from ListVerse
- 49 annotated fairy tales, including their histories, similar tales across cultures, modern interpretations and over 1,500 illustrations
- Introducing Kids To Fairytales Online from The Book Chook
- Fractured Fairytales: An internet resource for the classroom from Read Write Think.
- Modern Fairytales For Twenty-Somethings from Lost At E-Minor
- The Plot Points Of Every Single Fairytale
- Fairytale Archetypes, a big mindmap
- Kay Nielson’s Stunning 1914 Scandinavian Fairytale Illustrations from Brainpickings
- Artistic Takes On 9 Different Fairytales from Mental Floss
- Sinch Art & Design released a series of minimalist posters.
FAIRYTALES AND THE MOVIES
- Why Can’t Hollywood Make A Decent Fairytale Movie? asks io9
- 10 Great Fairytale Films from BFI
- 9 Fairy Tales For Adults That Are WAY Better Than Disney from Huff Post Books
- 10 Totally Psychotic Fairytales That Hollywood Should Film Next, from io9
- Taking A Fairytale’s Emotional Temperature from Discover
- Kate Bernheimer’s essay: Fairy Tale Is Form; Form Is Fairytale
- Modern Adaptations of Grimm’s Fairytales: Reproductions vs Re-versions
- Myths, Legends, Fairytales and other similar terms
- Fairytales Were Originally For People Of All Ages
- Real Life Fairytale Houses at Wil Wheaton’s Tumblr