German Fairy Tales

(3634 words)
  • Ruth B. Bottigheimer

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

Conventional wisdom and traditional conviction have long held that German fairy tales emerged from the folk in the deep and unspecified past. Despite the absence of evidence that this was so, the presence of a commonly known body of fairy tales served to define German-speakers as a “Volk” (people). These sentiments were codified by late eighteenth-century literary theorists in the terms in which they understood folk literature (Volkspoesie); were built upon by Jacob (1785–1863) and Wilhelm (1786–1859) Grimm in the early nineteenth century as they theorized about the fairy and folk tales, riddles, and other examples of oral tradition they were gathering; were relied on by later nineteenth-century …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Bottigheimer, Ruth B.. "German Fairy Tales". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 10 November 2004
[, accessed 04 July 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Literary Genres and Modes