In keeping with my interest in folklore and mythology–and, coincidentally, my various blog posts about fairy tales and related story and myth–I’m really enjoying a series on these subjects, written by a friend of mine whose nom de plume is Jas Faulkner. Her series is called Grimm Surrealities, and she’s exploring fairy tales in their original forms (do we even know those?) as well as the more modern resurrections of the same stories. Why did they resonate back then–and why do they still resonate today?
As Jas says in her first column, Shake Paws With Your Lunar Powered Best Friend:
There’s nothing pretty or princessy about the characters you’ll find in the stories as collected by the Grimm Brothers and others. Even Andrew Lang’s allegedly nursery-bound Colour Fairies series of books is far darker and redder in tooth and claw than the Golden Books of our childhood.
In upcoming columns, we’ll take a look at sources that have preserved and shaped how we view those tales.
Her second column is just out: Grimm Surrealities: My, what big eyes you have! In this one, she tackles the tale of Little Red Riding Hood. Now, there’s a whole can of worms! I’m amused at her description of how people hae handled this story:
The story of Little Red Riding Hood is littered with psychosexual landmines that have rendered two centuries of lit-crit pros and archetypal psychology scholars into quivering masses of self-doubt. Once fierce verbal gladiators of the classroom and the seminar tug at their collars and swallow hard while they wonder when they left the shining path of dashing young turk academia for the more shadowy back alleys inhabited by a thousand lupine Humbert Humberts.
Lots of good stuff there about the telling of that tale, both in the past and in more recent treatments. And the squirming of the critical and psychological interpreters of the story. (And then there’s the latest interpretation I’ve seen, on the TV Series, Once Upon A Time, which turns the whole story entirely on its head.)
If you enjoy explorations of fairy tales and the rich subconscious, interpretive ocean from which they arise, keep watch for more of Jas’s columns. Can’t wait to see what she does with Cinderella! Or with Prince Charming — who really gets around, when you think of it.