Math Is Fun Forum

  Discussion about math, puzzles, games and fun.   Useful symbols: ÷ × ½ √ ∞ ≠ ≤ ≥ ≈ ⇒ ± ∈ Δ θ ∴ ∑ ∫ • π ƒ -¹ ² ³ °

You are not logged in.

#1 2023-09-10 01:38:24

Jai Ganesh
Administrator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 43,455

Fairy tale

Fairy tale

Gist

A fairy tale is a traditional story written for children that usually involves imaginary creatures and magic.

Summary

A fairy tale is a wonder tale involving marvellous elements and occurrences, though not necessarily about fairies. The term embraces such popular folktales (Märchen, q.v.) as “Cinderella” and “Puss-in-Boots” and art fairy tales (Kunstmärchen) of later invention, such as The Happy Prince (1888), by the Irish writer Oscar Wilde. It is often difficult to distinguish between tales of literary and oral origin, because folktales have received literary treatment from early times, and, conversely, literary tales have found their way back into the oral tradition. Early Italian collections such as Le piacevoli notti (1550, vol. 1; 1553, vol. 2; “The Pleasant Nights”) of Gianfrancesco Straparola and Il Pentamerone (1636; originally published [1634] in Neapolitan dialect as Lo math de li math) of Giambattista Basile contain reworkings in a highly literary style of such stories as “Snow White,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “The Maiden in the Tower.” A later French collection, Charles Perrault’s Contes de ma mère l’oye (1697; Tales of Mother Goose), including “Cinderella,” “Little Red Ridinghood,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” remains faithful to the oral tradition, while the Kinder- und Hausmärchen (1812–15; “Children’s and Household Tales,” generally known as Grimm’s Fairy Tales) of the Brothers Grimm are transcribed directly from oral renderings (although often from literate informants). The influence of Perrault and the Grimms has been very great, and their versions have been commonly adopted as nursery tales among literate people in the West. For example, Grimm’s “Rumpelstiltskin” has replaced the native English “Tom Tit Tot,” and Perrault’s “Cinderella” has replaced “Cap o’ Rushes,” once almost equally popular in oral tradition.

Art fairy tales were cultivated in the period of German Romanticism by Goethe, Ludwig Tieck, Clemens Brentano, and E.T.A. Hoffmann and in Victorian England by John Ruskin (The King of the Golden River, 1851) and Charles Kingsley (The Water-Babies, 1863), but few of these tales have found permanent popularity. The master of the art fairy tale, whose works rank with the traditional stories in universal popularity, is the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen. Though his stories have their roots in folk legend, they are personal in style and contain elements of autobiography and contemporary social satire.

Twentieth-century psychologists, notably Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Bruno Bettelheim, have interpreted elements of the fairy tale as manifestations of universal fears and desires. In his Uses of Enchantment (1976), Bettelheim asserted that the apparently cruel and arbitrary nature of many folk fairy stories is actually an instructive reflection of the child’s natural and necessary “killing off” of successive phases of development and initiation.

Details

A fairy tale (alternative names include fairytale, fairy story, magic tale, or wonder tale) is a short story that belongs to the folklore genre. Such stories typically feature magic, enchantments, and mythical or fanciful beings. In most cultures, there is no clear line separating myth from folk or fairy tale; all these together form the literature of preliterate societies. Fairy tales may be distinguished from other folk narratives such as legends (which generally involve belief in the veracity of the events described) and explicit moral tales, including beast fables. Prevalent elements include dwarfs, dragons, elves, fairies, giants, gnomes, goblins, griffins, mermaids, talking animals, trolls, unicorns, monsters, witches, wizards, and magic and enchantments.

In less technical contexts, the term is also used to describe something blessed with unusual happiness, as in "fairy-tale ending" (a happy ending) or "fairy-tale romance". Colloquially, the term "fairy tale" or "fairy story" can also mean any far-fetched story or tall tale; it is used especially of any story that not only is not true, but could not possibly be true. Legends are perceived as real within their culture; fairy tales may merge into legends, where the narrative is perceived both by teller and hearers as being grounded in historical truth. However, unlike legends and epics, fairy tales usually do not contain more than superficial references to religion and to actual places, people, and events; they take place "once upon a time" rather than in actual times.

Fairy tales occur both in oral and in literary form; the name "fairy tale" ("conte de fées" in French) was first ascribed to them by Madame d'Aulnoy in the late 17th century. Many of today's fairy tales have evolved from centuries-old stories that have appeared, with variations, in multiple cultures around the world.

The history of the fairy tale is particularly difficult to trace because only the literary forms can survive. Still, according to researchers at universities in Durham and Lisbon, such stories may date back thousands of years, some to the Bronze Age. Fairy tales, and works derived from fairy tales, are still written today.

The Jatakas are probably the oldest collection of such tales in literature, and the greater part of the rest are demonstrably more than a thousand years old. It is certain that much (perhaps one-fifth) of the popular literature of modern Europe is derived from those portions of this large bulk which came west with the Crusades through the medium of Arabs and Jews.

Folklorists have classified fairy tales in various ways. The Aarne-Thompson-Uther classification system and the morphological analysis of Vladimir Propp are among the most notable. Other folklorists have interpreted the tales' significance, but no school has been definitively established for the meaning of the tales.

Terminology

Some folklorists prefer to use the German term Märchen or "wonder tale" to refer to the genre rather than fairy tale, a practice given weight by the definition of Thompson in his 1977 [1946] edition of The Folktale:

"...a tale of some length involving a succession of motifs or episodes. It moves in an unreal world without definite locality or definite creatures and is filled with the marvellous. In this never-never land, humble heroes kill adversaries, succeed to kingdoms and marry princesses."

The characters and motifs of fairy tales are simple and archetypal: princesses and goose-girls; youngest sons and gallant princes; ogres, giants, dragons, and trolls; wicked stepmothers and false heroes; fairy godmothers and other magical helpers, often talking horses, or foxes, or birds; glass mountains; and prohibitions and breaking of prohibitions.

Definition

Although the fairy tale is a distinct genre within the larger category of folktale, the definition that marks a work as a fairy tale is a source of considerable dispute. The term itself comes from the translation of Madame D'Aulnoy's Conte de fées, first used in her collection in 1697. Common parlance conflates fairy tales with beast fables and other folktales, and scholars differ on the degree to which the presence of fairies and/or similarly mythical beings (e.g., elves, goblins, trolls, giants, huge monsters, or mermaids) should be taken as a differentiator. Vladimir Propp, in his Morphology of the Folktale, criticized the common distinction between "fairy tales" and "animal tales" on the grounds that many tales contained both fantastic elements and animals. Nevertheless, to select works for his analysis, Propp used all Russian folktales classified as a folklore, Aarne–Thompson–Uther Index 300–749, – in a cataloguing system that made such a distinction – to gain a clear set of tales. His own analysis identified fairy tales by their plot elements, but that in itself has been criticized, as the analysis does not lend itself easily to tales that do not involve a quest, and furthermore, the same plot elements are found in non-fairy tale works.

Were I asked, what is a fairytale? I should reply, Read Undine: that is a fairytale ... of all fairytales I know, I think Undine the most beautiful.

— George MacDonald, The Fantastic Imagination

As Stith Thompson points out, talking animals and the presence of magic seem to be more common to the fairy tale than fairies themselves.[18] However, the mere presence of animals that talk does not make a tale a fairy tale, especially when the animal is clearly a mask on a human face, as in fables.

In his essay "On Fairy-Stories", J. R. R. Tolkien agreed with the exclusion of "fairies" from the definition, defining fairy tales as stories about the adventures of men in Faërie, the land of fairies, fairytale princes and princesses, dwarves, elves, and not only other magical species but many other marvels. However, the same essay excludes tales that are often considered fairy tales, citing as an example The Monkey's Heart, which Andrew Lang included in The Lilac Fairy Book.

Steven Swann Jones identified the presence of magic as the feature by which fairy tales can be distinguished from other sorts of folktales. Davidson and Chaudri identify "transformation" as the key feature of the genre. From a psychological point of view, Jean Chiriac argued for the necessity of the fantastic in these narratives.

In terms of aesthetic values, Italo Calvino cited the fairy tale as a prime example of "quickness" in literature, because of the economy and concision of the tales.

History of the genre

Originally, stories that would contemporarily be considered fairy tales were not marked out as a separate genre. The German term "Märchen" stems from the old German word "Mär", which means news or tale. The word "Märchen" is the diminutive of the word "Mär", therefore it means a "little story". Together with the common beginning "once upon a time", this tells us that a fairy tale or a märchen was originally a little story from a long time ago when the world was still magic. (Indeed, one less regular German opening is "In the old times when wishing was still effective".)

The French writers and adaptors of the conte de fées genre often included fairies in their stories; the genre name became "fairy tale" in English translation and "gradually eclipsed the more general term folk tale that covered a wide variety of oral tales". Jack Zipes also attributes this shift to changing sociopolitical conditions in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that led to the trivialization of these stories by the upper classes.

Roots of the genre come from different oral stories passed down in European cultures. The genre was first marked out by writers of the Renaissance, such as Giovanni Francesco Straparola and Giambattista Basile, and stabilized through the works of later collectors such as Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm. In this evolution, the name was coined when the précieuses took up writing literary stories; Madame d'Aulnoy invented the term Conte de fée, or fairy tale, in the late 17th century.

Before the definition of the genre of fantasy, many works that would now be classified as fantasy were termed "fairy tales", including Tolkien's The Hobbit, George Orwell's Animal Farm, and L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Indeed, Tolkien's "On Fairy-Stories" includes discussions of world-building and is considered a vital part of fantasy criticism. Although fantasy, particularly the subgenre of fairytale fantasy, draws heavily on fairy tale motifs, the genres are now regarded as distinct.

Folk and literary

The fairy tale, told orally, is a sub-class of the folktale. Many writers have written in the form of the fairy tale. These are the literary fairy tales, or Kunstmärchen. The oldest forms, from Panchatantra to the Pentamerone, show considerable reworking from the oral form. The Grimm brothers were among the first to try to preserve the features of oral tales. Yet the stories printed under the Grimm name have been considerably reworked to fit the written form.

Literary fairy tales and oral fairy tales freely exchanged plots, motifs, and elements with one another and with the tales of foreign lands. The literary fairy tale came into fashion during the 17th century, developed by aristocratic women as a parlour game. This, in turn, helped to maintain the oral tradition. According to Jack Zipes, "The subject matter of the conversations consisted of literature, mores, taste, and etiquette, whereby the speakers all endeavoured to portray ideal situations in the most effective oratorical style that would gradually have a major effect on literary forms." Many 18th-century folklorists attempted to recover the "pure" folktale, uncontaminated by literary versions. Yet while oral fairy tales likely existed for thousands of years before the literary forms, there is no pure folktale, and each literary fairy tale draws on folk traditions, if only in parody. This makes it impossible to trace forms of transmission of a fairy tale. Oral story-tellers have been known to read literary fairy tales to increase their own stock of stories and treatments.

History

The oral tradition of the fairy tale came long before the written page. Tales were told or enacted dramatically, rather than written down, and handed down from generation to generation. Because of this, the history of their development is necessarily obscure and blurred. Fairy tales appear, now and again, in written literature throughout literate cultures, as in The Golden math, which includes Cupid and Psyche (Roman, 100–200 AD), or the Panchatantra (India 3rd century BC), but it is unknown to what extent these reflect the actual folk tales even of their own time. The stylistic evidence indicates that these, and many later collections, reworked folk tales into literary forms. What they do show is that the fairy tale has ancient roots, older than the Arabian Nights collection of magical tales (compiled circa 1500 AD), such as Vikram and the Vampire, and Bel and the Dragon. Besides such collections and individual tales, in China Taoist philosophers such as Liezi and Zhuangzi recounted fairy tales in their philosophical works. In the broader definition of the genre, the first famous Western fairy tales are those of Aesop (6th century BC) in ancient Greece.

Scholarship points out that Medieval literature contains early versions or predecessors of later known tales and motifs, such as the grateful dead, The Bird Lover or the quest for the lost wife. Recognizable folktales have also been reworked as the plot of folk literature and oral epics.

Jack Zipes writes in When Dreams Came True, "There are fairy tale elements in Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, and in many of William Shakespeare plays." King Lear can be considered a literary variant of fairy tales such as Water and Salt and Cap O' Rushes. The tale itself resurfaced in Western literature in the 16th and 17th centuries, with The Facetious Nights of Straparola by Giovanni Francesco Straparola (Italy, 1550 and 1553), which contains many fairy tales in its inset tales, and the Neapolitan tales of Giambattista Basile (Naples, 1634–36), which are all fairy tales. Carlo Gozzi made use of many fairy tale motifs among his Commedia dell'Arte scenarios, including among them one based on The Love For Three Oranges (1761). Simultaneously, Pu Songling, in China, included many fairy tales in his collection, Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio (published posthumously, 1766), which has been described by Yuken Fujita of Keio University as having "a reputation as the most outstanding short story collection." The fairy tale itself became popular among the précieuses of upper-class France (1690–1710), and among the tales told in that time were the ones of La Fontaine and the Contes of Charles Perrault (1697), who fixed the forms of Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Although Straparola's, Basile's and Perrault's collections contain the oldest known forms of various fairy tales, on the stylistic evidence, all the writers rewrote the tales for literary effect.

The Salon Era

In the mid-17th century, a vogue for magical tales emerged among the intellectuals who frequented the salons of Paris. These salons were regular gatherings hosted by prominent aristocratic women, where women and men could gather together to discuss the issues of the day.

In the 1630s, aristocratic women began to gather in their own living rooms, salons, to discuss the topics of their choice: arts and letters, politics, and social matters of immediate concern to the women of their class: marriage, love, financial and physical independence, and access to education. This was a time when women were barred from receiving a formal education. Some of the most gifted women writers of the period came out of these early salons (such as Madeleine de Scudéry and Madame de Lafayette), which encouraged women's independence and pushed against the gender barriers that defined their lives. The salonnières argued particularly for love and intellectual compatibility between the sexes, opposing the system of arranged marriages.

Sometime in the middle of the 17th century, a passion for the conversational parlour game based on the plots of old folk tales swept through the salons. Each salonnière was called upon to retell an old tale or rework an old theme, spinning clever new stories that not only showcased verbal agility and imagination but also slyly commented on the conditions of aristocratic life. Great emphasis was placed on a mode of delivery that seemed natural and spontaneous. The decorative language of the fairy tales served an important function: disguising the rebellious subtext of the stories and sliding them past the court censors. Critiques of court life (and even of the king) were embedded in extravagant tales and in dark, sharply dystopian ones. Not surprisingly, the tales by women often featured young (but clever) aristocratic girls whose lives were controlled by the arbitrary whims of fathers, kings, and elderly wicked fairies, as well as tales in which groups of wise fairies (i.e., intelligent, independent women) stepped in and put all to rights.

The salon tales as they were originally written and published have been preserved in a monumental work called Le Cabinet des Fées, an enormous collection of stories from the 17th and 18th centuries.

Later works

The first collectors to attempt to preserve not only the plot and characters of the tale, but also the style in which they were told, was the Brothers Grimm, collecting German fairy tales; ironically, this meant although their first edition (1812 & 1815) remains a treasure for folklorists, they rewrote the tales in later editions to make them more acceptable, which ensured their sales and the later popularity of their work.

Such literary forms did not merely draw from the folktale, but also influenced folktales in turn. The Brothers Grimm rejected several tales for their collection, though told orally to them by Germans, because the tales derived from Perrault, and they concluded they were thereby French and not German tales; an oral version of Bluebeard was thus rejected, and the tale of Little Briar Rose, clearly related to Perrault's The Sleeping Beauty, was included only because Jacob Grimm convinced his brother that the figure of Brynhildr, from much earlier Norse mythology, proved that the sleeping princess was authentically Germanic folklore.

This consideration of whether to keep Sleeping Beauty reflected a belief common among folklorists of the 19th century: that the folk tradition preserved fairy tales in forms from pre-history except when "contaminated" by such literary forms, leading people to tell inauthentic tales. The rural, illiterate, and uneducated peasants, if suitably isolated, were the folk and would tell pure folk tales. Sometimes they regarded fairy tales as a form of fossil, the remnants of a once-perfect tale. However, further research has concluded that fairy tales never had a fixed form, and regardless of literary influence, the tellers constantly altered them for their own purposes.

The work of the Brothers Grimm influenced other collectors, both inspiring them to collect tales and leading them to similarly believe, in a spirit of romantic nationalism, that the fairy tales of a country were particularly representative of it, to the neglect of cross-cultural influence. Among those influenced were the Russian Alexander Afanasyev (first published in 1866), the Norwegians Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe (first published in 1845), the Romanian Petre Ispirescu (first published in 1874), the English Joseph Jacobs (first published in 1890), and Jeremiah Curtin, an American who collected Irish tales (first published in 1890). Ethnographers collected fairy tales throughout the world, finding similar tales in Africa, the Americas, and Australia; Andrew Lang was able to draw on not only the written tales of Europe and Asia, but those collected by ethnographers, to fill his "coloured" fairy books series. They also encouraged other collectors of fairy tales, as when Yei Theodora Ozaki created a collection, Japanese Fairy Tales (1908), after encouragement from Lang. Simultaneously, writers such as Hans Christian Andersen and George MacDonald continued the tradition of literary fairy tales. Andersen's work sometimes drew on old folktales, but more often deployed fairytale motifs and plots in new tales. MacDonald incorporated fairytale motifs both in new literary fairy tales, such as The Light Princess, and in works of the genre that would become fantasy, as in The Princess and the Goblin or Lilith.

311976-800x522-open-book-with-fairy-tale-characters.webp


It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics, one should study the masters and not the pupils. - Niels Henrik Abel.

Nothing is better than reading and gaining more and more knowledge - Stephen William Hawking.

Offline

Board footer

Powered by FluxBB