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Sonja Fritzsche

The article argues that the films Das kalte Herz (The Cold Heart, 1950) and Der Teufel von Mühlenberg (The Devil of Mill Mountain, 1955) functioned in two ways-as fairy tales and also as new Heimat or “homeland“ tale. Besides Wolfgang Staudte's The Story of Little Mook, these two films were the only two live action fairy tale films that appeared before East Germany's DEFA made its first Grimm feature adaptation in 1956, The Brave Little Tailor. Yet, unlike the Grimm-based films that take place in a generic “forest,“ these first two films take place explicitly in the Black Forest and the Harz Mountains, two locations synonymous with the beauty and timeless nature of past notions of German Heimat. The two films also engaged with the growing monetary and symbolic success of the West's postwar Heimatfilme or homeland films. The article focuses on how The Cold Heart and Mill Mountain contributed to the rearticulation of the emerging Heimat discourse in the early German Democratic Republic, with a particular focus on gender.

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Jean-Paul Sartre

This is an extract from “Une défaite,” an unfinished novel which, according to Simone de Beauvoir, Sartre wrote in 1927. Apparently, Sartre was inspired by Charles Andler's biography of Nietzsche and the triangular relationship of Nietzsche, Wagner and Cosima Wagner. The latter, Franz Liszt's daughter, was initially married to Hans von Bülow with whom she had two daughters, and then she married Wagner with whom she had two more daughters. Nietzsche admired her greatly. Sartre became fascinated by this ambiguous, complex and conflictual triangle. Sartre also identified with Nietzsche and “the destiny of the solitary man.” The protagonist, Frédéric, who is one year older than Sartre, is also an ironic self-portrait of Sartre, while Cosima is a prototype for Anny in Nausea; both are modelled on Simone Jollivet. Cosima plays both mother and sister to Frédéric. The triangular relationship is often repeated in Sartre's affective existence. The fairy tale is the best written chapter in the novel.

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Hope Chest

Demythologizing Girlhood in Kate Bernheimer’s Trilogy

Catriona McAra

In this article I position the metaphor of the hope chest at the heart of a trilogy of fairy tale novels, The Complete Tales of Ketzia (2001), The Complete Tales of Merry (2006a) and The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold (2011), by Kate Bernheimer that explore traditions of American girlhood. Deploying psychoanalytic interpretative readings, I investigate the characterization of each of the three sisters. My use of the hope chest (as both a toy and a cultural repository) enables me to offer a fuller picture of the social transition depicted in these novels from childhood into womanhood, and is thus conflated with the idea of the child-woman— a hinge-like cultural figure whom Bernheimer represents metaphorically through boxes of accoutrements containing memories and prophecies. With reference to unpublished interviews with Bernheimer, I support my interpretative reading of her trilogy by invoking and explaining the relevance of literary theories related to caskets.

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Transmitted Holocaust Trauma

A Matter of Myth and Fairy Tales?

Philippe Codde

This essay will examine the concept of third-generation trauma after the Holocaust and the ways in which Jewish American novelists seek to access, recreate and artistically represent (or 're-present') such a traumatic past that is by definition inaccessible. A striking feature in the novels by the latest generation of Jewish American writers – notably the work of Jonathan Safran Foer and Judy Budnitz – is the almost obsessive return to mythology and fairy tales in the literary recreation of their grandparents' era. My essay will argue that this is due to a commonality of purpose that characterizes and drives both mythology and fairy tales on the one hand, and the third generation's imaginative, postmemorial approach to the past on the other hand.

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Lyons and Tigers and Wolves – Oh My!

Revisionary Fairy Tales in the Work of Angela Carter

Patricia Brooke

Fairy tales present Angela Carter with a range of subject matter for drawing out the beauty and violence in gender and sexual formations.1 In deconstructing the tales, Carter reveals the false universalizing inherent in many so-called master narratives of the Western literary tradition. Lorna Sage further highlights this strain in Carter’s work, arguing that by ‘going back to these preliterary forms of storytelling … she could experiment with her own writer’s role, ally herself in an imagination with the countless, anonymous narrators who stood behind literary redactors like Perrault or Grimm.’2 Thus, not only do fairy tales provide Carter with a radical content – fundamental and revolutionary – in their sexual and violent manifestations, but they also contest the authorial position, rejecting the romantic and modern authoritative voice in favour of the multiplicity of voices, often female, that have been repressed by the ‘official’ tellings of Perrault, Grimm, or Disney. Once the venue of women – mothers or governesses – passing tales from one generation to the next over the hearth, fairy tales were taken over by male chroniclers of culture in attempts to unify and totalize their belief systems.

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Elizabeth S. Leet

Each tale in the Lanval corpus revolves around fairy women who style their bodies specifically to attract the male gaze. Each fairy uses her body’s visual impact to seduce her lover and resolve the judicial accusations against him. By adapting her body for private audiences, public parades, and even non-noble onlookers, each fairy participates actively in the gaze both to gain her respective lover’s freedom and to win the man of her choosing. The Lanval tales reveal women who submit to be analyzed and objectified in order to satisfy their lover’s wish along with their own goals. Additionally, Sir Landevale and Sir Launfal expand descriptions of the ladies, mirroring the increase in the number of people who assess them at the Arthurian trial. By examining the increasing volume of attire and decreasing interaction with animals across the adaptations, we see these poets problematize the overlap between objectification and empowerment.

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“Very few people know that Sartre also wrote a fairy tale,” commented Michel Rybalka when he suggested that we translate chapter IV, “Le conte de fées,” from Sartre’s unfinished novel “Une Défaite”, published as part of Ecrits de jeunesse. This story is at once an ironic self-portrait of the young man in his early twenties and, no less important, a first attempt to deal with such concepts as “being-for-others,” “existence” and “consciousness.” Even if the story is part of Sartre’s “juvenalia,” it shows a surprisingly sophisticated grasp of literary technique. Cosima’s role is much more than that of a typical interlocutor, she plays an active role in guiding the narrator along so that the story is transformed into a commentary about psychological interaction and the creative process.

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Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer

This article focuses on the intertwinement of the Romantic and the Jewish tradition in Maurice Sendak's picture book Dear Mili (1988) whose original text was based on a legend retold by Wilhelm Grimm, the German fairy tale collector. This picture book demonstrates precisely the extent to which the project of writing about Jewish children is influenced by elements of Romantic thought such as proximity to nature, the child as symbol of hope, the contrast between imagination and education, and the new concept of the “strange child”, created by the German Romantic author E.T.A. Hoffmann. Moreover, by juxtaposing Romantic images of childhood with the Shoah, Dear Mili works in multiple dimensions that transcend the meaning of the original story thus transforming it into both a timeless parable about the perpetual menace to children from war, violence and loneliness and a historicised narrative about the Holocaust.

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Puerilities/Masculinities

Introducing a Special Issue on Boyish Temporalities

Diederik F. Janssen

Pioneering cultural historian Johan Huizinga’s short chapter on puerilism, featured in his interwar essay In the Shadow of Tomorrow, famously highlighted what he considered the mutual “contamination of play and seriousness in modern life.” “Puerilism we shall call the attitude of a community whose behaviour is more immature than the state of its intellectual and critical faculties would warrant, which instead of making the boy into the man adapts its conduct to that of the adolescent age” (Huizinga, 1935 [1936, p. 170]). The puerilist condition degrades the serious to the superficial, true and ritual play to boundless childishness. It is a dangerous and decadent symptom, a “bastardization of culture,” a semi-seriousness and appetite for the sensational and the trivial appealing to obedient masses and small minds. Modern man becomes a slave to his comforts. “In his world full of wonders man is like a child in a fairy tale. He can travel through the air, speak to another hemisphere, have a continent delivered in his home by radio. He presses a button and life comes to him. Will such a life give him maturity?”