Today I'd like to introduce you to a few more of the who's-who in the academic world of fairy tales and folklore. Like so many of these posts, this one was not at all on my radar when I sat down to write a post. As I was reading some of my go-to blogs for fairy tale news, I chanced to discover that a Fairy Tale prize had been awarded in Europe which got me to wondering, "just how many people are out there still trying to learn more about fairy tales and to spread the word?"
Here on Fairy Tale Fridays, we've talked before about the sanitization of fairy tales. Zipes is wholeheartedly against it. "The sanitizaton process and political correctness can be very dangerous because they lead to censorship, police states, radical fundamentalism, etc." I think we can safely assume, as we celebrate Banned Books Week, that Zipes is also opposed to the banning of books.
Ruth B. Bottigheimer, a professor at Stony Brook University in New York, is a lady who is raising eyebrows in the field of fairy tale studies. It's her contention that fairy tales were not handed down orally but were, instead, passed down in print. "Literary analysis undermines it [oral tradition], literary history rejects it, social history repudiates it, and publishing history (whether of manuscripts or of books) contradicts it." She specifically points to the Cinderella-type tales as an example, stating the "economic conditions and legal restrictions" of mid-16th century Venice led to this type of tale and collections of tales from this time are the first record of this type of tale. This is bound to be a hot topic of debate among literary scholars. In the world of fairy tales, it's akin to the first scientists who said that no, in fact, the world was not flat.