Motifs, l'art et les moyens, Les: la reussite des contes de fee de Perrault et des freres Grimm

Rose, Elizabeth, author
Vogl, Mary, advisor
Malpezzi-Price, Paola, committee member
Margolf, Diane, committee member
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Although many French and German authors have produced fairy tale collections, those of Charles Perrault and Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm are the best-selling non-religious literary works of all time in these two countries. In an attempt to understand the underlying reasons for the popularity of the fairy tale genre in general, scholars have explored the social, cultural, psychological and feminist context in which they were collected. However, an important question that has not been addressed, is why the collections of Perrault and the Grimm brothers, in particular, had such a resounding impact when they were first collected, and why they have maintained their popularity over time. This research directly addresses the above question by looking at three different socio-political areas in XVIIth century France and XIXth century Germany – the periods in which the Perrault and Grimm fairy tale collections first appeared. First, the study examines the level of literacy and access to free, public education for males. Second, the study explores the social attitudes of the French nobility toward the absolutist regime of Louis XIV and of the German populace toward the French occupation of Germany by Napoleon I. Third, this study looks at the methods of distribution that facilitated the dissemination of the Perrault and the Grimm brothers fairy tales to a large reading public. Additionally, the study highlights the importance of the specific literary contributions made by these authors to the fairy tale genre that contributed significantly to the success of their collections. By limiting the study of fairy tales to the two most important collections in Western Europe, it becomes clear that their popularity is due to a complex mixture of social and political reasons, as well as to the literary skill of the authors.
2009 Spring.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text in French; title and abstract in English.
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