As I mentioned earlier, when Jesse and I first started looking at using these exciting new fairy tales for our traveling puppet show project we got a little bit stuck because most of them were only available in German – which neither of us speak. Some very kind friends and family helped us out with the translations, but while we were waiting we decided to spend some time researching the idea of Fairy Tales in general. Where do they come from, what was their original purpose, and what role do they play in our contemporary world?
Well, not surprisingly, although we’ve come across many interesting theories and ideas, there aren’t really any definitive answers to those questions. One thing that we can say for certain though, is that fairy tales are certainly present in modern culture – once you start looking for them you find them everywhere! I’ve found references in songs, novels, news stories, tv shows, blog posts, podcasts…
One of my favourite finds has been this series of photographs by landscape photographer Kilian Schönberger. He captures the mood of 19th century fairytales in photos of German forests that somehow manage to feel both sinister and enchanting.
For any of you who are interested in jumping down the rabbit-hole of fairy tale research with us, here are a few more links to get you started:
- Fairy Tales are Women’s Tales (article by Anne Thériault)
- Once Upon a Time (video lecture by Maria Tatar, fairy tale scholar)
- The Uses of Enchantment (podcast from To the Best of Our Knowledge)