Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion (Routledge Classics) Paperback – 31 Aug 2011
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About the Author
Jack Zipes was formerly Professor of German at the University of Minnesota. An acclaimed translator and scholar of children’s literature and culture, his most recent books include Hans Christian Andersen: The Misunderstood Storyteller and Speaking Out: Storytelling and Creative Drama for Children, both published by Routledge.
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Top customer reviews
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
As a folklorist interested in new historicist approaches to literature and film, I find Zipes' work to be canonical and useful for both my own research as well as for teaching undergraduates. My students have responded very strongly to both this book and "Breaking the Magic Spell," as well as select chapters from some of his other works. Zipes is definitely writing for a college level or above, but his prolific work has helped me provide my students with interesting and impactful introductions to difficult academic terrain (such as Marxism, feminism, ideology and inequality, media literacy, etc). The subject matter is familiar for students, which keeps them engaged as Zipes unpacks complex but essential social theory. Of all the books I teach with, students have told me they are most likely to hold on to Zipes at the end of the semester.
The Amazon reviews mostly reflect the experiences of people who were not prepared for the intellectual rigor of Zipes' work. This is not to say that Zipes doesn't deserve to be critiqued by other academics in his field (he does), but that the people who have written reviews of his works on Amazon seem to miss the point entirely. (Or maybe they just don't want to think about how Beauty and Beast is a classist, bourgeois fantasy designed to humanize the aristocracy in the eyes of an oppressed underclass before the French Revolution. After all, it IS much more comfortable to think that story is just an extension of the tepid 'appearances can be deceiving' theme).
If you are up for an intellectual read that challenges the way you think about stories you've known and loved (or hated) since childhood, then this book may be for you. If you want an easily-digestible and fun analysis of fairy tales that just reinforces what you already believe about them, look elsewhere.
An actual quote from this book: "It follows, then, out of necessity that we write our own texts to gain a sense not simply of what has happened in reality but also of what has happened on psychological, economic, cultural, and other levels to free ourselves of the dictates of the sociohistorical texts that have prescribed and ordered our thinking and need to be disordered if we are to perceive for ourselves the processes that produce social structures, modes of production, and cultural artifacts."
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