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Why Fairy Tales are Immortal

By Jack Zipes

About 50 years ago, critics were predicting the death of the fairy tale. They declared it would fizzle away in the domain of kiddie literature, while publishers sanitized its “harmful” effects. Academics, journalists and educators neglected it or considered it frivolous. Only the Austrian psychologist, Bruno Bettelheim tried to rescue the fairy tale in 1974 with The Uses of Enchantment, but he treated it primarily as healthy therapy for children.

So, the fairy tale shrugged off his help and laughed at its critics. Indeed, most of those writers predicting its demise are long since dead. In the meantime, the fairy tale has flourished for not only for children, but for adults, everywhere you turn – in cinema, opera, theatre, books, storytelling festivals, graphic novels, computer games, television, the Internet, even iPads.

The fairy tale arose from a wide variety of tiny tales thousands of years ago. They were widespread throughout the world and continue in our own day, though the older forms and contents have changed to reflect new realities and preoccupations. As a simple, imaginative oral tale that contained magical and miraculous elements, it was originally related to the belief systems, values, rites and experiences of pagan peoples. Known also as the wonder or magic tale, the fairy tale underwent numerous transformations before the invention of the printing press in the 15th century led to the production of fixed texts and conventions of telling and reading.

Read the original article at: The Globe and Mail

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