Fairy Tale Culture

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Fairy tales are a large part of popular culture all over the world, yet some of then are also considered to be great literary classics. While most people can easily recall some childhood fairy tales and have some notion of what fairy tales are, very few of these people can picture fairy tales as the subject of literary criticism and scholarly commentary or analysis. The general perception is that if fairy tales are products of the literary imagination, they are simple narratives that do not require critical study. Scholars became interested in fairytale, because of apparent ties between those stories and myths and legends. The Grimm Brothers are mostly famous for their collection of fairytales, but they can also be accredited with founding the study of fairytales as a scholarly field. Jacob and Wilhem Grimm began the study of fairy tales as descending from ancient sources, and therefore as providing information about the past of nations and peoples and as preserving remnants of culture treasures otherwise lost or unrecorded. Thus the study of fairy tales mostly concentrated on finding the place and time of the genre's origin. They focused on German folktales because they were German. According to an article about the Grimm Brothers in National, the brothers did not intend to create a children's collection of fairy tales. Instead, they set out to safeguard Germany's oral tradition by collecting folklores that were told to them. "Jacob and Wilhelm viewed themselves as patriotic folklorists, not as entertainers of children. They began their work at a time when Germany, a messy patchwork of fiefdoms and principalities, had been overrun by the French under Napoleon. The new rulers were intent on suppressing local culture. As young, workaholic scholars, single and sharing a cramped flat, the Brothers Grimm undertook the fairy-tale collection with the goal of saving the endangered oral tradition of Germany." (National Geographic) After several editions of their...
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