upon a time

Beside the fact that guardian.co.uk may be transposing portions of my own inner dialogue to get ideas for its content these days, there is an entry posted by David Barnett related to fairy tales and their age-appropriateness up on their books blog:

When our son was very young I embarked on a mission to expand his literary horizons and purchased a copy of the fairy stories of the Brothers Grimm to read to him each night. He was little more than a babe in arms at the time, and the whole enterprise was really a tool to lull him into a peaceful sleep. He often dozed off within a couple of pages of each story, but I would continue to read aloud in hushed tones, largely for my own edification.

If he slept soundly, though, I went to bed more troubled. The Disneyfication of fairy stories over the past 70-odd years since Uncle Walt released his animated take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has put into most people’s minds a primary-coloured world of beautiful people facing dastardly villains and apparently insurmountable obstacles on their path to a life of happiness alongside Mr or Ms (or, more likely, HRH) Right; a world where good always triumphs and there’s no better relationship than one built upon the size of a kingdom. A world, largely, for children. But the picture painted by the Grimms was of a vast, dark, world-encompassing forest in which still darker deeds were committed – and went unpunished.

They’ve gone further: over on the site they’re publishing a whole range of the tales themselves, along with some first-rate, bite-sized analyses of their themes.


~ by A Mundi on October 16, 2009.

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