The Irresistible Fairy Tale by Jack Zipes

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If there is one genre that has captured the imagination of people in all walks of life throughout the world, it is the fairy tale. Yet we still have great difficulty understanding how it originated, evolved, and spread--or why so many people cannot resist its appeal, no matter how it changes or what form it takes. In this book, renowned fairy-tale expert Jack Zipes presents a provocative new theory about why fairy tales were created and retold--and why they became such an indelible and infinitely adaptable part of cultures around the world.

Drawing on cognitive science, evolutionary theory, anthropology, psychology, literary theory, and other fields, Zipes presents a nuanced argument about how fairy tales originated in ancient oral cultures, how they evolved through the rise of literary culture and print, and how, in our own time, they continue to change through their adaptation in an ever-growing variety of media. In making his case, Zipes considers a wide range of fascinating examples, including fairy tales told, collected, and written by women in the nineteenth century; Catherine Breillat's film adaptation of Perrault's "Bluebeard"; and contemporary fairy-tale drawings, paintings, sculptures, and photographs that critique canonical print versions.

While we may never be able to fully explain fairy tales, The Irresistible Fairy Tale provides a powerful theory of how and why they evolved--and why we still use them to make meaning of our lives.


About Jack Zipes

See more books from this Author
A. S. Byatt is the author of The Biographer's Tale, Elementals, and the Booker Prize winning novel Possession, among other books. She lives in London.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Published March 19, 2012 by Princeton University Press. 256 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Irresistible Fairy Tale

Open Letters Monthly

Wilhelm, who eventually married and had three children, revised several editions of the tales to “make the contents of the tales more acceptable to a children’s audience.” Also, they’re implicated in molding the tales to support Germany’s somewhat rigid patriarchal hierarchy, diminishing the hero...

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City Book Review

Reaching beyond our childhood memories of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, he explores the characters and tales that have thrived over the centuries, detailing especially French and Russian tales that have endured, albeit sometimes with a change of focus.

Jun 07 2012 | Read Full Review of The Irresistible Fairy Tale

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