Terrors of Childhood in Grimms' Fairy Tales

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P. Lang, 2005 - Literary Criticism - 149 pages
Questioning culturally predetermined consolidations of childhood experience, this study focuses on memory and affect on the verge of linguistic formulation. Fairy tale plots frequently function as cover-ups of a deeply rooted violence that expresses itself through sensibilities of the skin and in presymbolically charged cataclysms. In a narrative border zone, early linguistic and psychic events reemerge with primordial force. Split into seemingly irreconcilable opposites, good and evil engage in warfare with each other; cannibalism and infanticide take hold of family life. Four tales are presented here as related in 1857 by the Brothers Grimm, along with new translations. Through in-depth readings of these intricately interpersonal texts, this inquiry explores a frightful silence.

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Language and Psyche
Der glaserne Sarg
The Glass Coffin

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About the author (2005)

The Author: W. G. Kudszus is Professor of German Literature at the University of California at Berkeley. He holds advanced degrees in clinical psychology and in German. His numerous books and articles focus on poetry, twentieth-century prose, literature and schizophrenia, the theory of translation, and psychoanalysis. He has been a Fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Merton Research Professor in Psychiatry at the University of Mainz, Germany. His most recent book is Poetic Process (1995).

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