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Exploring Historical Paths

  • Jack Zipes

Abstract

Inevitably they find their way into the forest. It is there that they lose and find themselves. It is there that they gain a sense of what is to be done. The forest is always large, immense, great, and mysterious. No one ever gains power over the forest, but the forest possesses the power to change lives and alter destinies. In many ways it is the supreme authority on earth and often the great provider. It is not only Hansel and Gretel, who get lost in the forest and then return wiser and fulfilled.

Once upon a time there was a prince who was overcome by a desire to travel about the world, and the only person he took with him was his faithful servant. One day he found himself in a great forest when evening came. He had not found a place to spend the night and did not know what to do. Then he noticed a maiden going toward a small cottage, and when he came closer, he saw that she was young and beautiful. (“The Riddle”)1

The boy set out with this letter but lost his way, and at night he came to a great forest. When he saw a small light in the darkness, he began walking toward it and soon reached a little cottage. Upon entering, he discovered an old woman sitting all alone by the fire. (“The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs,” 110–111)

Keywords

Oral Tradition Fairy Tale Protestant Ethic Historical Path Social Type 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, trans. Jack Zipes (New York: Bantam, 1987), 92. All further page references cited in the text.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Hermann Grimm, Gustav Hinrichs, and Wilhelm Schoof, eds., Briefwechsel zwischen Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm aus der Jugendzeit, second rev. ed. (Weimar: Böhlaus, 1963), 49.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Gabriele Seitz, Die Brüder Grimm: Leben—Werk—Zeit (Munich: Winkler, 1984).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    See Jack Zipes “The Fight Over Fairy-Tale Discourse: Family, Friction, and Socialization,” in Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion (New York: Methuen, 1983), 134–169;Google Scholar
  5. Lucia Borghese, “Antonio Gramsci und die Grimmschen Märchen,” in Brüder Grimm Gedenken, ed. Ludwig Denecke, vol. 3 (Marburg: Elwert, 1981), 374–390.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cf. Simon Bronner, “The Americanization of the Brothers Grimm,” in Following Tradition: Folklore in the Discourse of American Culture (Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 1998), 184–236.Google Scholar
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    Eugen Weber, “Fairies and Hard Facts: The Reality of Folktales,” Journal of the History of Ideas 42 (1981): 93–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Robert Darnton, The Great Cat Massacre and Other Episodes in French Cultural History (New York: Basic Books, 1984). In particular, see the chapter “Peasants Tell Tales: The Meaning of Mother Goose,” 9–72.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cf. Elfriede Moser-Rath, Predigtmärlein der Barockzeit: Exempel, Sage, Schwank und Fabel in geistlichen Quellen des oberdeutschen Raums (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1964);Google Scholar
  10. Rudolf Schenda, “Orale und literarische Kommunikationsformen im Bereich von Analphabeten und Gebildeten im 17. Jahrhundert,” in Literatur und Volk im 17. Jahrhundert: Probleme populärer Kultur in Deutschland, ed. Wolfgang Brückner, Peter Blickle, and Dieter Breuer (Wiesbaden: Harrasowitz, 1985), 447–464;Google Scholar
  11. Rudolf Schenda, “Vorlesen: Zwischen Analphabetentum und Bücherwissen,” Bertelsmann Briefe 119 (1986): 5–14.Google Scholar
  12. 10.
    Peter Taylor and Hermann Rebel, “Hessian Peasant Women, Their Families, and the Draft: A Social-Historical Interpretation of Four Tales from the Grimm Collection,” Journal of Family History 6 (Winter, 1981): 347–378. Hereafter page references cited in the text.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 11.
    For information about the sources, see Heinz Rölleke, ed., Kinder- und Hausmärchen, vol. 3 (Stuttgart: Reclam, 1980), 441–543.Google Scholar
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    Lothar Bluhm, Grimm-Philologie: Beiträge zur Märchenforschung und Wissenschaftsgeschichte. (Hildesheim: Olms-Weidmann, 1995), 23–24. For an English translation of the complete essay by Deborah Lokai Bischof, see “A New Debate about ‘Old Marie’? Critical Observations on the Attempt to Remythologize Grimms’ Fairy Tales from a Sociohistorical Perspective,” Marvels & Tales 14 (2000): 287–311. My translation is slighdy different.Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    Dietz-Rüdiger Moser, “Theorie- und Methodenprobleme der Märchenforschung,” Ethnologia Bavaria 10 (1981): 61.Google Scholar
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    See Alice Eisler, “Recht im Märchen,” Neophilologus 66 (1982): 422–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Cf. Stith Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk-Literature, 6 vols. (Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 1955).Google Scholar
  18. 25.
    The following remarks about soldiers are based to a large extent on the findings of Jürgen Kuczynski, Geschichte des Alltags des deutschen Volkes, 1650–1810, vol. 2 (Cologne: Pahl-Rugenstein, 1981).Google Scholar
  19. 26.
    Heinz Rölleke, ed., Briefwechsel zwischen Jacob und Wilhelm Grimm (Stuttgart: Hirzel, 2001), 300.Google Scholar
  20. 28.
    For clarification of the distinction between master tailors and journeymen and the conflicts between them, see James F. Farr, Artisans in Europe 1300–1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 191–221,Google Scholar
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  22. 29.
    Cf. Frieder Stöckle, ed., Handwerkermärchen (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1986), 7–39. For a general picture of the living and working conditions of the artisans in Germany,Google Scholar
  23. see Reinhard Sieder, Sozialgeschichte der Familie (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1987): 103–124. This chapter deals with “Die Familien der Handwerker.”Google Scholar
  24. 30.
    Cf. Geoffrey Crossick and Heinz-Gerhard Haupt, eds., Shopkeepers and Master Artisans in Nineteenth-Century Europe (London: Methuen, 1984),Google Scholar
  25. and Wolfgang Renzsch, Handwerker und Lohnarbeiter in der frühen Arbeiterbewegung (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1980).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 33.
    For information about Riehl, see the excellent critical study by Mary Beth Stein, “Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl and the Scientific-Literary Formation of Volkskunde,” German Studies Review 24 (October 2001): 461–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 34.
    Wilhelm H. Riehl, Die Naturgeschichte des deutschen Volkes (Leipzig: Kröner, 1935), 73.Google Scholar

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© Jack Zipes 2002

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  • Jack Zipes

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