Our fondness for fairy tales, their popularity in all social classes, stems from their profound truths that can be glimpsed from the diverse human conflicts depicted in the narratives and the insistence on social justice. They attract us because they contain what we lack: social justice and characters who struggle and demand to live in truth. In many ways, fairy tales with their metaphorical allusions are more truthful than so-called realistic stories because they are generally endowed with a sense of social justice that we do not find in our societies. The formation of the genre fairy tale is predicated on the collusion and cooperation of people from different social classes and backgrounds and the retelling, and rewriting of tales that are ageless and relevant to people’s lives.
In my own work, almost from the very beginning of my research, I developed a strong predisposition to discover and preserve the works of neglected writers and storytellers who have sought to pierce the spectacles and illusions created by the reigning forces of culture in their respective countries. To my mind, these writers and storytellers have offered alternative ways of thinking with fairy tales that have excited me and given me the courage to try to live and work in truth. Most recently I have encountered three nineteenth and early twentieth-century European authors whose works address present-day conflicts and demand that we rethink how to deal with tyranny that has raised its ugly head in too many places in today’s world. Their truths are at the center of my talk.
Jack Zipes is Professor Emeritus of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota. Some of his recent publications include: Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre (2006), Relentless Progress: The Reconfiguration of Children's Literature, Fairy Tales, and Storytelling (2008), The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films (2010), The Irresistible Fairy Tale: The Cultural and Social History of a Genre (2012), The Golden Age of Folk and Fairy Tales: From the Brothers Grimm to Andrew Lang (2013), and Grimm Legacies: The Magic Power of Fairy Tales (2014). He has also translated the first 1812/15 edition of the Grimms' tales, The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (2014), and Giuseppe Pitrè’s, Caterina the Wise and Other Wondrous Sicilian Folk and Fairy Tales (2017). Most recently he has published The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: An Anthology of Magical Tales, (2017) and Tales of Wonder: Retelling Fairy Tales through Picture Postcards (2017).
Dates & times
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|24 May 2018||
5:30pm - 8:00pm
The time slot includes the talk, questions and a drinks reception
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