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Fairy Tales: A Timeline

Based on the timeline of fairy tales available at SurLaLune

Kathryn Lechler

on 28 March 2015

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Transcript of Fairy Tales: A Timeline

Fairy Tales: A Timeline
AD 100-200: The myth, "Cupid and Psyche," is written by Apuleius and included in his Metamorphoses (also known as
The Golden Ass
). Some scholars consider this to be the first literary fairy tale, very similar in nature to "Beauty and the Beast."--from SurLaLune
AD 200-300: A Hindu collection of tales, the
, is written. Some of these tales are thought to be forerunners to a few European fairy tales.--From SurLaLune
850-860 AD: The first known literary
version of "Cinderella" in the world
is written in China.--From SurLaLune
Circa 900:
1001 Arabian Nights
, a collection of West and South Asian folk tales, is mentioned under the title of
Hazar Afsan
. It comes together over the centuries and is probably the work of scholars and translators from Egypt, Persia, Arabia, and India.
Italy, 1550-1553: Gianfrancesco Straparola publishes in two volumes,
Le Piacevoli Notti
or The Pleasant Nights, also known as The Facetious Nights and The Delightful Nights. The first volume appeared in France as early as 1560 and the second in 1573.--from SurLaLune
1634-6: Giambattista Basile writes
Il Pentamerone
, also known as
Lo cunto de le cunti
(The Tale of Tales). It is written in the hard-to-translate Neapolitan dialect. Volumes 1-3 appear in 1634, followed by volume 4 in 1635 and volume 5 in 1636. They were published posthumously since Basile died in 1632. Due to the obscure dialect, they were not translated into Italian until 1747, German in 1846, and English in 1848, essentially removing them from influence upon the oral tradition until then.--from SurLaLune
1690-1710: The French Salons are filled with fairy tale writing, primarily by women writers. The most prolific and influential are Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy, who publishes 4 volumes of fairy tales from 1696-8, and Charles Perrault, whose
Mother Goose Tales
(published in 1697) include Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Blackbeard, and other classics.--from SurLaLune
1729: Robert Samber translates into English and publishes Perrault's
, or
Tales of Times Past
. They are a hit and become some of the most popular fairy tales of all time.--from SurLaLune
1740: Madame Gabrielle de Villeneuve writes the original novella length version of "Beauty and the Beast." This version is not intended for children with its many storylines, length, and subject matter.

1756: Madame Le Prince de Beaumont publishes her own considerably shorter version of Beauty and the Beast. This version is the best well-known and most used as the basis for later interpretations of the tale. It is written for a young audience, with didactic messages and a simpler storyline. This is the first example of a literary fairy tale being written specifically for children.--from SurLaLune
1812-5: Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm publish volumes one (1812) and two (1815) of
Kinder und Hausmarchen
(Childhood and Household Tales). Popular tales from the collection include The Frog King, Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.--from SurLaLune
1835: Hans Christian Andersen's
Fairy Tales Told for Children
is published. Many of the tales are original stories, but a few are based on traditional folklore, including The Wild Swans and The Princess on the Pea.--from SurLaLune
: Norwegian Folk Tales
, collected by Peter Christen Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe is published in 1845. The collection becomes exceptionally popular after the second edition appears in 1852. The first illustrated edition, featuring the work of Erik Werenskiold and Theodor Kittelsen, appears in 1879. Two of the most famous tales from this collection are East of the Sun and West of the Moon and The Three Billy Goats Gruff.--from SurLaLune
1866: Aleksandr Afanasyev collects and publishes his first volume of Russian fairy tales.--from SurLaLune
1889: Andrew Lang publishes the first of his twelve fairy books,
The Blue Fairy Book
. Most of the illustrations in the books are drawn by H. J. Ford. The twelfth and final book,
The Lilac Fairy Book
, will be published in 1910. The books remain popular for gathering tales from numerous sources, essentially presenting multicultural fairy tale collections long before multicultural becomes a buzz word a hundred years later.--from SurLaLune
1890: Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's
The Sleeping Beauty
premieres in St. Petersburg, Russia on January 15, 1890. Choreography is by Marius Petipa and the book is by Marius Petipa and Ivan Vsevolojsky. Some of Tchaikovsky's score will later appear in Walt Disney's adaptation of the story.--from SurLaLune
1890: Joseph Jacobs publishes
English Fairy Tales
, later followed by
More English Fairy Tales, Celtic Fairy Tales, Indian Fairy Tales
, and
European Folk and Fairy Tales
. All of the books are illustrated by John Batten.
1909: Arthur Rackham's black and white illustrations for Grimm's Fairy Tales from 1900 are enlarged, recolored, and printed in a deluxe edition which solidifies his standing as one of the most successful illustrators during the Golden Age of children's books illustration. He will continue to illustrate fairy tales throughout his career.--from SurLaLune
1910: Finnish scholar Antti Aarne publishes
The Types of the Folktale
. A revised edition is published in 1928. Later, Stith Thompson translates and expands it into English in 1961.--from SurLaLune
Theory Break:

The Aarne-Thompson Index, borne out of the work of Aarne and Thompson, is one of the most-used ways of categorizing fairy tales. It breaks tales down according to their morphology (their structure.) For instance, "Animal Tales" is the first category, followed by "Ordinary Folktales," "Jokes and Anecdotes," etc. Within each of these categories the stories break down even further. Most fairy tales we will study in this class will fall under "Tales of Magic," which is under the larger umbrella of "Ordinary Folktales." From there the categories get even smaller, similar to the way we categorize living things: kingdom, phylum, class, order, etc.

Let me use Cinderella as an example; we are not reading Cinderella, but you are all probably very familiar with the story. Cinderella is type 510A. It is an Ordinary Folktale, and a Tale of Magic. Under "Tales of Magic," it falls into the "Supernatural Helpers" category (remember the fairy godmother?). From there, it falls under category 510: "Persecuted Heroine." The reason Cinderella is 510A is that category 510 contains 5 different variants, each labeled with a letter (510A, 510B, etc.) 510A specifically deals with an "ill-treated heroine" and "recognition by means of a shoe." If you'd like to read more about how Cinderella is categorized by various scholars, I recommend this website: http://www.artic.edu/webspaces/510iftheshoefits/2criteria.html
1910: Edmund Dulac's illustrations for Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch's
The Sleeping Beauty, and Other Fairy Tales
is published as a gift book. The illustrations are luminous watercolors and show why Dulac was second only to Arthur Rackham in popularity as an illustrator. The book is followed the next year by his illustrations for
from Hans Andersen.--from SurLaLune
1928: Vladmir Propp publishes his work
Morphology of the Tale
in Leningrad.
Theory Break:
Vladimir Propp, a Soviet folklorist, created another way to understand folktales by analyzing the basic elements of plot and character. First, he created a list of 33 functions that occur in folktales. For instance, one of the most common functions is called "Guidance." In the case of Cinderella, it is her fairy godmother (or, in some versions, the spirit of her mother) who guides her. Another common function is "Recognition," in which the hero is recognized. This occurs for Cinderella when she is able to fit into the slipper and the prince recognizes her as the girl from the ball.

Propp also categorized the various types of characters that occur in folktales. There are seven of them, with their analogues in Cinderella:

The Hero: Cinderella
The Villain: The Stepmother and her Stepsisters
The Dispatcher: The fairy
The Magical Helper: the fairy (or, in some versions, the spirit of her mother)
The Princess or Prize and her Father: The Prince
The Donor: the animals or other helpers
The False Hero: The stepsisters
1937: Walt Disney's first feature length animated film is released,
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
. The film is a commercial success and leads to the creation of several more Disney fairy tale adaptations. The seven dwarfs now have names, thanks to Walt Disney.--from SurLaLune
1946: Jean Cocteau's film,
La Belle et la bête
(Beauty and the Beast) is released.--from SurLaLune
1949: Joseph Campbell publishes
The Hero with a Thousand Faces
, in which he describes his theory of the monomyth, or "the hero's journey." This book reputedly inspired George Lucas to write
Star Wars
Theory Break:
Joseph Campbell's "Hero's Journey" is similar to Propp's 31 functions, except much reduced, and in a handy-dandy graphic.
1975: Bruno Bettelheim, originally from Vienna, publishes
The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales
, a psychological analysis of the relationship between children and fairy tales. With its Freudian bias, the book becomes a staple in fairy tale studies while remaining very controversial in its views and methodology. In 1977, the book wins the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.--from Sur La Lune
1979: Jack Zipes'
Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales
is published. It is one of the first of many books written and/or edited by Jack Zipes dealing with fairy tale studies. It also marks the start of the significant emphasis on the socio-political study of folklore that Zipes has espoused in his career.--from SurLaLune
1979: Angela Carter's
The Bloody Chamber
is published in Great Britain. It appears in the U.S. in 1980. Like Sexton's
, this short story anthology is firmly aimed at an adult audience with its dark, sensual themes.--from SurLaLune
1989: Disney's
The Little Mermaid
is released. Although Walt Disney is no longer alive, the Disney version of the Hans Christian Andersen tale follows the Disney formula, rewriting the ending and adding cute animal helpers. The movie's success causes Disney to return to its most successful movie formula--the classic musical adapted from well-known literature--in its feature length films several times over the coming decade. The 1991 film,
Beauty and the Beast
, is the first feature-length animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award. --from SurLaLune
Literary Fairy Tales
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