Lecture 10

Grimms’ Fairy Tales

Grimms’ tales evolved over time

  • Originally, the Grimms wrote their book as a faithful collection of German literature.
    • They said that it was stories that parents could pick from and retell.
  • However, parents who bought it for children to read were horrified by its contents, so Wilhelm toned the language down significantly in subsequent editions, sometimes behind Jacob’s back.
  • Eventually the book morphed into something that was intended for children (as an Erziehungsbuch, or a book for children to learn manners from), with parents as a secondary audience.

Childhood Trauma

  • The 1700s and 1800s were horrible for children. These stories of childhood trauma did actually happen to children.
  • Jack Zipes says: Why haven’t more people worked through the psychological effects of these tales?
    • Psychologists ignore historical facts, and people who know history don’t know much about psychology.

The Girl With No Hands

  • Girl has Electra Complex, but the idea of being with her father scares her terrible.
    • Scared of the abuse and incest
  • Girl punishes herself “back to infancy” by cutting off her hands.