Reason for Reading:
- This was required reading for my Seminar in Continental European Literature class
Summary from GoodReads
The German Romantic movement arose in response to the turmoil of the French Revolution and to the Enlightenment’s emphasis on science and reason. Nostalgia for the past and a fascination with mysticism and medivialism caused a group of writers to adopt the foremost form of the Kunstmar or “literary fairy tales”. This collection, vividly illustrating the development of German Romanticism, presents four of the genre’s key texts that still have the power to enchant and disturb. Goethe’s The Fairy Tale (1795) — an ethereal story of prophecy and resurrection — helped establish of the genre. Ludwig Tieck’s Eckbert the Fair (1792) is a dark story of incest and murder. Friedrich de la Motte Fouque describes the unhappy fate of a wood nymph with the soul of a woman in Undine (1811). In The Tale of Honest Casper and Fair Annie (1817), Clemens Brentano tells the tale of young couple destroyed by a false sense of honor.
Recently there’s been a lot of fairy-tale hype happening. Turn on the TV and you’ll see advertisements for Grimm and Once Upon a Time. The theater this year will have two, yes two movies centering on Snow White. We’ve had recent movies re-telling Beauty and the Best and Red Riding Hood and this fairy tale uprising, I believe, is just getting started.
I recently took a class that focused on uncanny literature from Continental European authors. These stories were included in the reading for that class and I will not sugarcoat this – some of them were strange, disturbing, and outright freaky. But that makes it all the more fun to read, right?
Between poor Casper and Annie and all this business about beheading to Eckbert and that business about the incest, these fairy tales are accessable – so much so I forgot I was reading for class at some points and just enjoyed reading fairy tales that I was very unfamiliar with.
So if you are a fan of Grimms Fairy Tales and want to experience a little more on the uncanny side, this is a volume of stories that will sit proudly on your shelf. It’s a book of pure fun (and grossness).