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The Irresistible Fairy Tale:
The Cultural and Social History of a Genre
Jack Zipes

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]

ADDITIONAL REVIEWS:

"From Sumerian fables to Catherine Breillat's cinematic interpretations, fairy tales have traveled far. Professor Jack Zipes follows the evolution of a genre of folklore that serves to discretely communicate knowledge and experience. Reaching beyond our childhood memories of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, he explores the characters and tales that have thrived over the centuries, detailing especially French and Russian tales that have endured, albeit sometimes with a change of focus. . . . This is not a book for the beach but the fruits of a study researched over several decades and offered especially to an academic readership. As such, the considerable chapter notes, bibliography, provocative illustrations, and index are all fitting."--Jane Manaster, Sacramento Book Review

"Zipes traces the origin of storytelling back to a primal past. . . . The reason they survive to this day, Zipes suggests, is because the classic fairy tales--such as Snow White, Cinderella, and Rapunzel, which all have analogues in cultures throughout the world--are perfect examples of 'memetic' engineering."--Adam Kirsch, Prospect

"Zipes spends much of The Irresistible Fairy Tale pointing out the hidden gems in the fairy tale's history and present--the ignored fabulists and movements that better embodied the revolutionary spirit of fable-telling."--Max Ross, Open Letters Monthly

"The Irresistible Fairy Tale establishes a greater link with the social and natural sciences to explain the appeal of the fairytale. Zipes puts fairytales centre stage in Western culture, in a series of chapters that focus on lesser-known stories and authors. Zipes shows how fairytales mutate to ensure that the stories remain relevant to contemporary audiences, such as the feminist overturning of the traditional patriarchal fairytales in new interpretations of stories such as Little Red Riding Hood. The Irresistible Fairy Tale will appeal to both the academic and the general reader."--Colin Steele, Canberra Times

"The Irresistible Fairy Tale strikes gold in giving due attention to a number of neglected female storytellers and collectors. In truth, Zipes could have written an entire book on Laura Gonzenbach, Bozena Nemcova, Nannette Levesque, and Rachel Busk."--Belinda Webb, Review 31

"Zipes is, of course, the undisputed dean of fairy tale studies in the US. . . . In The Irresistible Fairy Tale, Zipes draws on and extends is prior work. He both celebrates the fairy tale as a subversive form and analyzes it as a nearly living creature, evolving from a dim past into the multifarious forms it takes today."--Elisabeth Rose Gruner, Children's Literature

"The Irresistible Fairy Tale follows the theoretical trajectory established in [Zipes's] earlier works with a broad range of well-researched, lucidly-written chapters that are supported by informative notes, a bibliography divided into literary and critical works, and a detailed index. Each chapter can stand alone, but read together they offer compelling testimony to Zipes's sheer range of expertise and analytical insight."--Kirsten Møllegaard, Folklore

"Zipes is as always impressively erudite but wears his knowledge like a linen suit."--Richard Marshall, 3AM Magazine

"The Irresistible Fairy Tale is another informative contribution from this prolific and influential scholar."--Martha P. Hixon, Children's Literature Association Quarterly

"[This book presents] a broad range of well-researched, lucidly-written chapters that are supported by informative notes, a bibliography divided into literary and critical works, and detailed index. Each chapter can stand alone, but read together they offer compelling testimony to Zipes's sheer range of expertise and analytical insight."--Kirsten Møllegaard, Folklore

ENDORSEMENT:

"This is Zipes's magnum opus, the culmination of more than thirty years of research, and his broadest consideration yet of the fairy tale. He tackles very difficult fundamental questions, and provides credible theoretical foundations and historical evidence for the answers he proposes. Ultimately, he redirects the conversation about the origins, nature, and appeal of the fairy tale."--Donald Haase, editor of Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies

"Liberating, stringent, and new, this book demonstrates Zipes's unique and important affection for fairy tales while opening new lines of thinking about them. The Irresistible Fairy Tale--like fairy tales themselves--will appeal to both scholars and general readers. Its enlightening tone is irresistibly good."--Kate Bernheimer, author of Horse, Flower, Bird: Stories and editor of Fairy Tale Review

"This is an important examination of the elusive quality of the fairy tale. Everywhere in evidence is Zipes's mastery of the subject, his capacity to engage with its folkloric, literary, social, and cultural aspects, and his ability to communicate with general readers as well as specialists."--Graham Anderson, University of Kent

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File created: 4/22/2014

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