Where Do Fairy Tales Come From?

The traditional notion of where fairy tales come from suggests that people like the Brothers Grimm listened to oral folktales handed down through the generations and wrote them down with little embellishments.  But now, in a book called Fairy Tales: A New History, Ruth B. Bottigheimer argues that fairy tales have a much more literary genesis than has been commonly thought.  The Chronical Review has an interesting article about the different theories on the origin of some of the world’s most retold stories.  The article points out how confusing and complex the history of fairy tales becomes when you consider that many of the most familiar tales are shared across different cultures.  Jack Zipes, a leading translator and adapter of fairy tales says that “It’s absurd to create a dichotomy. The literary and the oral thrive off one another.”

Purchase Fairy Tales: A New History (Excelsior Editions)

8 thoughts on “Where Do Fairy Tales Come From?

  1. Thank you for this information! I love fairy tales, from all cultures. They are the reason I became an illustrator, so I can use pen and ink to illustrate my favorite stories.

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