Sex and violence
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Sex and Violence. The hard Core of fairy tales. Grimms ’ versions of tales are often violent. Doves peck out eyes of Cinderella’s stepsisters Briar Rose’s suitors bleed to death in hedge surrounding her castle

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Sex and Violence

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Sex and violence

Sex and Violence

The hard Core of fairy tales


Grimms versions of tales are often violent

Grimms’ versions of tales are often violent

  • Doves peck out eyes of Cinderella’s stepsisters

  • Briar Rose’s suitors bleed to death in hedge surrounding her castle

  • In “The Juniper Tree” a woman decapitates her stepson, cooks him in a stew, and feeds him to his father.


Often edited out references to certain conditions and relationships

Often edited out references to “certain conditions and relationships”

  • Story of Hans Dumm was dropped after first edition of Nursery and Household Tales due to focus on pregnancy

  • Wilhelm Grimm omitted hints of premarital sexual activity such as in “Frog King or Iron Heinrich”

  • Incestuous themes were avoided or toned down. If they were too difficult to eliminate entirely, judgmental observations were added.


Why did they alter the stories

Why did they alter the stories?

  • Response to criticism from peers

  • Began to view their books more as a source of income

  • Some felt the first edition missed its potential market because the Grimms’ scholarly ambitions undermined the production of a book for children.

  • Competitors were tailoring similar books to children


The transformation of the grimms enterprise

The Transformation of the Grimms’ Enterprise

  • Began as a scholarly and patriotic project

  • Wanted to capture German folk traditions

  • Began to see an opportunity for some much needed income

  • Folk and fairy tales began to shift from adult oriented to entertainment for children

  • Hoped their collection could serve as a “manual of manners”


Sex and violence

Hard work and obedience:

Those are the qualities to which

All good citizens must aspire.

Modesty and gentility,

Skill, hard work, and love of labor

Crown a girl and her achievements,

Building the foundation of a woman’s dignity


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