GERM 145 | Fairy Tales: Grimm, Disney, and Beyond

Illustration of Cinderella

Why is the stepmother always evil?

Instructor: Andrea Meyertholen

Lecture | M/W 3:00 - 3:45 PM | MAL 2048
Discussion | Fri 10, 11, 12, or 1

View Dr. Meyertholen's Profile

Once upon a time fairy tales were not the Disneyfied children's stories we know and love. For centuries folk and fairy tales have fueled the popular imagination around the world. Though they are nowadays intended for children, this has not always been the case. This course provides an introduction to folk and fairy tales with special attention to the German tradition. We investigate the evolution of tales from the Brothers Grimm to modern adaptations in film, television, theater, and art. Along the way, we will seek answers to questions such as: Why is the stepmother always evil? Why does the prince never have a name? And why do things always come in threes? At the same time, we will ask what fairy tales are, how their functions have evolved over time and across cultures, and how they teach and perpetuate cultural norms and stereotypes. Various interpretations of fairy tales will be explored, including their potential for social subversion through reinterpretation and rewriting.

Taught in English.

Does not count toward the German major or minor.