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CLS 84 — The Grimms' Fairy Tales: Words and Images

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Thursdays
Course Format: On-campus course
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): May 11—Jun 8
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: May 24
Unit: 1
Tuition: $240
Instructor(s): Orrin Robinson, Brigid Barton
Status: Open
On-campus course
7:00—8:50 pm
May 11—Jun 8
5 weeks
Drop By
May 24
1 Unit
Orrin Robinson, Brigid Barton
In 1812, during the French occupation of large parts of Germany, the Brothers Grimm published the first edition of their Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales). This historic publication was followed by six more editions of the tales, up until 1857, experiencing many revisions (especially expansions), deletions, and additions along the way (the final total was 211 tales and legends). These changes reflected the changing nature of the audience, the cultural and linguistic biases of the Grimms themselves, and their conscious or unconscious intention to create a special genre now called the Grimm fairy tale.

From the very beginning, these tales were not just written down, they were interpreted by illustrators. The first of these was another Grimm brother, whose illustrations were surely in line with his siblings’ intentions. But from the 19th century until the present (from Gustave Doré, Walter Crane, and Arthur Rackham to Maurice Sendak and more!), these interpretations could be wildly at variance with one another. Blending linguistics, literature, and art history, this course will explore the historical context in which the tales were written, significant biographical facts about the Grimms themselves, the striking illustrations mentioned above, and finally, various filmed interpretations of the tales (especially from Disney).

Orrin Robinson, Professor of German Studies, Emeritus, Stanford

Orrin Robinson has taught numerous Stanford undergraduate courses on the fairy tales, and is the author of Grimm Language: Grammar, Gender and Genuineness in the Fairy Tales. He received a PhD in linguistics from Cornell.

Brigid Barton, Professor of Art History, Emerita, Santa Clara University

Brigid Barton specializes in European Modernism (especially German and French). She received a PhD in modern European art history from UC Berkeley.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.