Friday, June 12, 2009

Grimm Brothers & Sex and Violence

It's interesting to me that the Grimm brothers, while were galled at the
appearance of sex and/or desire in their stories but the "fastidious
descriptions of cruel punishments, on the whole escaped censorship"
(Tatar, 1999, p. 369-370); in many places they further expanded on the
violent scenes from whichever story version they pulled from. The
brothers were encouraged by their brother Ferdinand to remove the sexual
connotations from the story, "eliminating anything that might offend
sensibilities of the reading public" (Tatar, 1999, p. 372). This
suggests that the brothers decided that violence was completely
acceptable, but the discussion of sex and incest was not.

Here's where I'm having trouble. If the intended audience for these
stories was not children, why did they title the collection Nursery
and Household Tales
? Yes, they thought that parents should use their
discretion in telling tales to the children (connection to present day
television watching, anyone?), but the title seems misleading.

Tatar, M. (1999). The Classic Fairy Tales. New York: W. W. Norton
& Co.

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