Saturday, October 17, 2009

Five best academic studies of fairy tales

Holly Tucker, the author of Pregnant Fictions: Childbirth and the Fairy Tale in Early-Modern France, teaches at Vanderbilt University.

For the Wall Street Journal, she named a five best list of academic studies of fairy tales.

One book on the list:
Off With Their Heads!
by Maria Tatar
Princeton University, 1992

Moving deftly from 16th- century Italian tales to the work of Maurice Sendak, Maria Tatar asserts that fairy tales are an elaborate form of indoctrination. She argues that the fairy-tale fear factor is less about cautioning children and more about the need to control the young adults that they become. Women in particular are meant to take notice. Gluttony, infidelity and arrogance are, she charges, all part of a "pantheon of female sins" that must be reined in at all costs. Fairy tales, according to Tatar, teach girls to accept their miserable fate so that they will become docile wives and mothers. So much for "and they lived happily ever after."
Read about another book on Tucker's list.

--Marshal Zeringue