In some of these old tales, children have their heads hacked off and adults are stuck in barrels full of nails and rolled in to rivers to drown. Like the ancient stories of Greek gods, random violence and cruelty were part of the paradigm. My children lapped it up.
Once upon a time, you were a young child who loved hearing fairy tales at bedtime and watching Disney bring them to life on screen. Now that you're a grown-up, though, your tastes have grown up, too, and you want to read something a little different and maybe even a little darker — like creepy adult fairy tales that don't always end in happily ever after. Fairy tales have a timeless appealand no matter how old we get, we never quite outgrow them.
Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and of Folklore Mythology, explored how fairy tales have migrated through centuries and across cultures into a world of movie screens, iPads, Kindles, Nooks, and increasingly short attention spans. Date April 9, Witches, wolves, and wicked stepmothers, oh my!
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I can still feel the sick horror of it. This is a tale of the most dysfunctional of families: a jealous stepmother cuts off her little stepson's head, props him up as if he's still alive, lets his sister discover the mutilation and then gets her to help chop up the body and serve it in a stew to the boy's father. I doubt we'll ever see a Disney version.
Stephen Evans explores the twisted world of Grimm's Fairy Tales — bedtime stories complete with mutilation, cannibalism, infanticide and incest. Nice tales for nice children. But behind the safe titles lie dark stories of sex and violence — tales of murder, mutilation, cannibalism, infanticide and incest, as one academic puts it.
With these words, Maleficent -- Disney's recent remake of Sleeping Beauty -- begins. And as we watch Angelina Jolie soar on her magnificent black wings above that fairy tale world, we come to realize that old stories made new can utterly change what we knew and understood about that story Much older than people realize.
F airy tales were not initially intended for children. They began as oral tales for all listeners, passed down by word of mouth from one generation to the next. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Giovanni Francesco Straparola, Giambattista Basile, and Charles Perrault published some of the first collections of fairy tales in the Western tradition. During the nineteenth century, famous fairy tale authors such as Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Joseph Jacobs continued writing down oral tales.
Imaginative stories, for example, folk lore, fables, myths and legends have existed for centuries. Her stories were told in the salons of Paris and they were not intended for children. Over the years, fairy tales evolved and became identified with children, especially the Disney versions of our time.
When did fairytales end up being for girls? Is this something the Disney Princess marketing juggernaut created or something it just cashed in on? In A Tale Dark and Grimmthe author repeatedly reminds us that fairytales are awesome—and by awesome he means full of action, gore, and scary things. But fairytales are full of gore, and things that eat children, and creepy people and creatures, and violence and bloodshed and all the other stuff you stereotypically expect from games, books, and movies aimed at boys.