GER20190 Grimms’ Tales and Adaptations

The two volumes of Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm’s Kinder- und Hausmärchen were first published in 1812 and 1815. In the volumes, the brothers Grimm had collated more than 150 fairy tales, many of which were to become familiar stories in households all over the world over the next 100 years. Extended and revised by the Grimms themselves, translated into many languages, adapted and rewritten for stage and screen, parodied and modernised, tales like those of Hänsel and Gretel, Rotkäppchen, Schneewittchen and Dornröschen are probably known to millions of children and adults. However, even German speakers will today most likely not come into contact with the original Grimm tales (which, in themselves, were already a collation and adaptation of different sources) but with some abbreviated, adapted or disneyfied versions.
The module introduces students to the theoretical concept of adaptation. Using selected examples, we will examine the Grimm fairy tales and their afterlife, looking at the tales as adaptation of pre-existing and often orally transmitted sources, at aspects of their editorial history and rewriting in Germany and at some examples of translations into English as well as their ‘Disneyfication’. The module is also aimed at helping students to develop their their essay writing skills.

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