Fairy Tales from Before Fairy Tales: The Medieval Latin Past of Wonderful Lies

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University of Michigan Press, Feb 15, 2007 - Literary Collections - 500 pages
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When did fairy tales begin? What qualifies as a fairy tale? Is a true fairy tale oral or literary? Or is a fairy tale determined not by style but by content? To answer these and other questions, Jan M. Ziolkowski not only provides a comprehensive overview of the theoretical debates about fairy tale origins but includes an extensive discussion of the relationship of the fairy tale to both the written and oral sources. Ziolkowski offers interpretations of a sampling of the tales in order to sketch the complex connections that existed in the Middle Ages between oral folktales and their written equivalents, the variety of uses to which the writers applied the stories, and the diverse relationships between the medieval texts and the expressions of the same tales in the "classic" fairy tale collections of the nineteenth century. In so doing, Ziolkowski explores stories that survive in both versions associated with, on the one hand, such standards of the nineteenth-century fairy tale as the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Carlo Collodi and, on the other, medieval Latin, demonstrating that the literary fairy tale owes a great debt to the Latin literature of the medieval period.

Jan M. Ziolkowski is the Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Medieval Latin at Harvard University.


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ONE Folktales in Medieval Latin Poetry
TWO Between Sacred Legend and Folktale
THREE A Cautionary Tale
FOUR True Lies and the Growth of Wonder
FIVE The Wonder of The Turnip Tale ca 1200
Sadly Never After
Modus florum or The Song to the Flowers Tune Carmina
Two Presents for the King ATU 1689A
The Ass ATU 430
Bibliography 445 Indexes

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About the author (2007)

Jan Ziolkowski is Arthur Kingsley Porter Professor of Medieval Latin, Harvard University, and the Director of Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection.

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