Cover image for Folk and fairy tales : a handbook
Folk and fairy tales : a handbook
Ashliman, D. L.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
viii, 268 pages: illustrations; . 24 cm.
Introduction -- Definitions and classifications -- Examples and texts -- Scholarship and approaches -- Contexts.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GR550 .A77 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Just about everyone is familiar with folk and fairy tales. Children learn about them from parents, teachers, and other adults, while researchers study these tales at colleges and universities. At the same time, folk and fairy tales are inseparable from everyday life and popular culture. Movies, music, art, and literature offer imaginative retellings and interpretations of fairy and folk tales. But despite the pervasiveness of this folklore type, most people have only a vague understanding of these tales. This reference is a convenient introduction to folk and fairy tales for students and general readers.

Written by a leading authority, this handbook offers a broad examination of folk and fairy tales as a folklore type. It looks at tales from around the world and from diverse cultures. The volume defines and classifies folk and fairy tales and analyzes a number of examples. It studies the varied manifestations of fairy and folk tales in literature and culture and reviews critical and scholarly approaches to this folklore genre. The volume also includes a glossary and extensive list of works for further reading.

Author Notes

D. L. ASHLIMAN is Professor Emeritus of German at the University of Pittsburgh. His previous publications include Voices from the Past: The Cycle of Life in Indo-European Folktales (1993, 1995), Once upon a Time: The Story of European Folktales (1994), and A Guide to Folktales in the English Language (Greenwood, 1987).

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Although it contains a few tales as examples, this handbook concentrates more on the academic aspects of folk and fairy tales. After an extensive introduction, Ashliman (German, emeritus, Univ. of Pittsburgh) defines and classifies folklore and fairy tales using a variety of criteria but focusing on the Aarne-Thompson typology. The third section gives example texts of tale types, from allegory and anecdote to frame stories, tall tales, and riddles. Following each text, a commentary provides some history and links it with similar tales. Chapter 4 discusses the scholarship of folklore, beginning with Plato and Socrates and ending with the psychological theories of Freud and Jung, sociological readings such as Marxist and feminist, and aesthetic approaches. A final section places folklore in the context of world literature, music, art, and film, from Chaucer to Disney. An excellent glossary and an extensive bibliography follow. Web resources listed include foreign language sites as well as folklore organizations and journals. Recommended for academic and public libraries. Katherine K. Koenig, Ellis Sch., Pittsburgh (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Third in the "Greenwood Folklore Handbooks," this is a concise, comprehensible introduction to the scholarly study of Indo-European folk and fairy tales. The author first reviews different types of stories and outlines some of the scholarly language used in discussing and classifying them. He then provides 40 short tales arranged by type, including allegory, cautionary tale, parable, and urban legend. Each story is followed by a short commentary and analysis; for example, in one commentary Ashliman compares the original 1812 and final 1857 versions of the Grimms's fairy tale "The Frog King" to demonstrate how the story was altered over time. The author also explores various approaches to analyzing the tales and touches on the contexts in which they appear, such as literature and film. Not so erudite and exhaustive as Jack Zipes's Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales (CH, Nov'00), Ashliman's handbook admirably serves its purpose--to make folk and fairy tale study organized and accessible to students. The work includes a useful glossary and an extensive bibliography of print and Web resources. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates. E. D. Bochinski Fairfield University

Table of Contents

Prefacep. vii
1 Introductionp. 1
2 Definitions and Classificationsp. 29
3 Examples and Textsp. 61
4 Scholarship and Approachesp. 129
5 Contextsp. 151
Glossaryp. 179
Bibliographyp. 211
Web Resourcesp. 239
Indexp. 257