Why are the Grimms so into fairy tales?
- The overwhelming desire for a unified Germany.
- The Grimms thought the 300 principalities in Germany were such a mess.
- The Grimms lived in the West, where France kept invading, and people were worried about losing their culture.
- The bourgeois: a new dominant cultural force that decides what “educated” and “cultured” means.
- The Grimms were nationalist, but not in the way that we think of.
- They’re still friends of democracy.
- They saw themselves as patriots working towards a shared nation.
- And it worked!
- The Grimms appropriated peasant culture and made it bourgeois.
- All the principalities could point to this and be like, “yeah, that’s us, I’ve heard that story too!”.
- The book of fairy tales made Germany as much as anything else.
- The idea of Germany and this book are so tied together.
How did West Germany and East Germany contaminate the Grimms’ tales to help their needs?
- At first, West Germany didn’t change things very much. War bad, bourgeois good, capitalism good, don’t rock the boat, upward mobility, everybody can get a job, strong middle class.
- Everything’s great, ignore the Nazi stuff, happy ending.
- The Grimms’ tales become very popular!
- In the 1950s and 1960s, hippies start asking questions like, “Why is it okay that all these adults were Nazis?”.
- New ways to read fairy tales: maybe things are complex, and things aren’t always happily ever after.
- New types of tales in West Germany around this time:
- East Germany played up the working-class parts of the fairy tales and toppling of aristocracy, and got rid of money, revenge, racism, etc.
- A lot of this was done with film, not writing.