Felicity's Reviews > The Interpretation of Fairy Tales

The Interpretation of Fairy Tales by Marie-Louise von Franz
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Jul 20, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: grad-school, nonfiction, folklore, psychology-and-mind
Recommended for: Fabulists and other folklore enthusiasts
Read in March, 2008

Von Franz was apparently Jung's chief disciple, and her work on fairy tales and folklore was central to her continuation of his work. This volume is, mostly, more centered on the act of interpreting than on the big Jungian worldview, and thus is interesting even if you don't entirely buy into Jungianism. It discusses the importance of tale-telling and fairy tales and demonstrates Jungian folklore analysis by dissecting individual tales in depth.

I enjoyed the way von Franz uses multiple versions of a story to triangulate a strong interpretation. The stories she uses are often evocative and little known. Many of the symbols she discusses, and the diagramming of fairy tales by number and gender of characters are very useful and fruitful. The last sections of the book were less intriguing, especially the section where she talks about the female fairy tale heroine, which dripped gender essentialism and was more full than usual of Jungian metaphysical certainties. Most of the book, however, was thought-provoking and even inspiring. Recommended for fabulists and other fairy tale enthusiasts.
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