This collection of exemplary essays by internationally recognized scholars examines the fairy tale from historical, folkloristic, literary, and psychoanalytical points of view. For generations of children and adults, fairy tales have encapsulated social values, often through the use of fixed characters and situations, to a far greater extent than any other oral or literary form. In many societies, fairy tales function as a paradigm both for understanding society and for developing individual behavior and personality.
A few of the topics covered in this volume: oral narration in contemporary society; madness and cure in the 1001 Nights; the female voice in folklore and fairy tale; change in narrative form; tests, tasks, and trials in the Grimms' fairy tales; and folklorists as agents of nationalism. The subject of methodology is discussed by Torborg Lundell, Stven Swann Jones, Hans-Jorg Uther, and Anna Tavis.