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Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre
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Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  110 ratings  ·  10 reviews
In his latest book, fairy tales expert Jack Zipes explores the question of why some fairy tales "work" and others don't, why the fairy tale is uniquely capable of getting under the skin of culture and staying there. Why, in other words, fairy tales "stick." Long an advocate of the fairy tale as a serious genre with wide social and cultural ramifications, Jack Zipes here ma ...more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Routledge (first published January 1st 2006)
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Apr 11, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in fairy tales
Recommended to Anarda by: Zipes was recommended by an instructor
Interesting theory using Richard Dawkins' "memes" to explain the 'stickiness' of fairy tales, but the book goes far beyond this in revealing more interesting depths to Zipes' ongoing discussion about fairy tales. Zipes keeps chipping away at the importance of these traditional tales, but never falls into the trap of a Freudian, Jungian, post-structuralist,etc., etc., posture that would prevent him from 'digging' in another direction. He adds to the scholarly/literary discussion of fairytales and ...more
Katherine Sas
I respect Zipes as a critic, and I appreciate that there is a usefulness to Marxist criticism, but this is where it falls short for me. Never does (or seemingly can) Zipes explain the question he begs in his title: "Why Fairy Tales Stick." His application of Richard Dawkins' theory of memes to fairy tales is interesting enough, but all that tells me is that fairy tales are ideas and ideas stick. I'm not sure I understand fairy tales themselves any better than when I started the book.
Feb 17, 2020 added it
DNF. It's a great topic that I'm interested in, but the writing was dry and academic to the point of putting me to sleep each time I picked up this book. I can't believe I used to read this kind of stuff all the time in college.
Mar 29, 2013 rated it it was ok
Parts of this - where he was discussing the history of the genre, or individual tales - were quite interesting. Generally however there was just too much abstract academic waffle.
Andy Crane
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book could have benefited from a closer edit. Zipes repeats himself frequently, without saying very much of anything. Still, his basic premise that fairy tales stick with us because they give us valuable information about how to navigate our world is an interesting one.
Jan 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's hard to rate this book. On the one hand, I disagreed with at least half of what the author had to say. On the other hand, I found it a fascinating book that helped me to think more about what fairy tales say.

For instance, I think Zipes is too hard on the Grimms. If you judge the Grimms by modern methods of scholarship, then yes, they did a horrible job of preserving the tales (interestingly, Zipes points out that more than a few tales weren't even German in origin). However, I think that w
Dec 06, 2011 rated it really liked it

Meme theory as applied to fairy tales. Very interesting to think about, especially with the current popular culture boom of rewritten or "true version of" fairy tales on TV (Once Upon A Time, Grimm), movies (Mirror, Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman) and in books (Cinder, Sweetly).
Fairy tales as memes? I am intrigued...
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Jack Zipes is insightful and easy to understand as he explores the cultural, historical and social relevance of Fairy Tales, Folk Tales and Oral Wonder Tales.
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Jack David Zipes is a retired Professor of German at the University of Minnesota. He has published and lectured extensively on the subject of fairy tales, their linguistic roots, and argued that they have a "socialization function". According to Zipes, fairy tales "serve a meaningful social function, not just for compensation but for revelation: the worlds projected by the best of our fairy tales ...more

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