Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Morsel of the Day: The Literary Fairy Tale

From The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: Introduction by Jack Zipes, p. xi-xii:

Since we know that many different kinds of storytelling existed in antiquity before oral wonder tales came into existence, and since we know that there were many kinds of wondrous oral and literary tales that served to form the hybrid “species” of the literary fairy tale, we can trace a historical evolution of all these tales by examining how bits and pieces of story accumulated in different cultures and then eventually gelled to form a genre. We cannot say with historical precision when the literary fairy tale evolved, but we can trace motifs and elements of the literary fairy tale to numerous types of storytelling and stories of antiquity that contributed to the formation of a particular branch of telling and writing tales. In the western European tradition, this branching occurred sometime in the fourteenth century and fifteenth centuries and led to a special literary genre in the sixteenth century that we today call the literary fairy tale.

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