Fairy Tale Criticism

This is a list of the most well-known critics out there. I can personally guarantee that each one of these scholars is worth reading (having read them all myself). If I were you, I’d begin with Zipes, because he’s the most readable, and save someone like Propp (super technical) for later.

Jack Zipes (for a complete list of his work, see here)

Critical Focus: The ‘bourgeois’ tendency of the Brothers Grimm. General Fairy Tale theory.
1. Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion (1983)
2. The Brothers Grimm: from enchanted forests to the modern world . Palgrave: New York. (2002)
3. Hans Christian Andersen : The Misunderstood Storyteller (2005)
4. Why Fairy Tales Stick (2006)

Maria Tatar

Critical Focus: Violence and sex in the Tales.
1. The Hard Facts of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales Princeton University Press: Princeton and Oxford. (2001).
2. Grimm’s Grimmest (2005).

Heinz Rölleke

Critical Focus: Sources and evolution of the Tales.
1. Wo das Wünschen noch geholfen hat. (When Wishing was still of use.) Bouvier Verlag: Bonn, 1985.
2. Die Märchen der Brüder Grimm. (The Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm). Wissenschaftlicher Verlag,
Trier, 2000.
3. Grimms Märchen und Ihre Quellen. (Grimms Fairy Tales and their Sources0.Wissenschaftlicher Verlag:
Trier, 1998.

Christa Kamenetsky

Critical Focus: Defense of the Brothers Grimm against their critics.
1. The Brothers Grimm and Their Critics. Ohio University Press, 1992.

Eugen Drewermann

Critical Focus: Psychological studies of the tales
1. Liebe Schwesterlein, laß mich herein – Grimms Märchen tiefenpsychologisch gedeutet.
(Dearest Sister, let me in – Grimms Fairy Tales psychologically examined). 1992.
2. Rapunzel, Rapunzel, laß dein Haar herunter – Grimms Märchen tiefenpsychologisch gedeutet.
(Rapunzel Rapunzel let down your hair – Grimms Fairy Tales psychologically examined). 1992.

Ruth Bottigheimer

Critical Focus: Zipes + Tatar = Bottigheimer
1. Grimms Bad Girls and Bold Boys. Yale University Press: Yale and London, 1987.

Vladimir Propp

Critical Focus: Fairy Tale morphology, Structuralism.
1. The Morphology of the Fairy Tale. 1928.