Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Zipes, Jack

(1937-    ) US professor of German and internationally acknowledged authority on Fairytales. JZ has worked extensively not only as storyteller but in the development of children's theatre, in the USA, Canada and Germany. His early research was into German Romanticism, resulting in his first book The Great Refusal: Studies of the Romantic Hero in German and American Literature (1970 Germany). He then extended his research into the fairytale, from its Folktale roots through its development as the Literary Fairytale and its adaptation for Satire, didacticism, commercialism, Feminism and Revisionist Fantasy. This led to Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk & Fairy Tales (coll 1979), a volume of essays exploring the evolution of the genre. JZ's conclusion was that the fairytale had become desensitized and overcommercialized, partly because of the work of Walt Disney and partly because of later sf and fantasy Cinema, which utilized the images of the fairytale without the underlying messages. JZ subsequently produced a series of studies and Anthologies to explore further the different aspects of the fairytale and present them in context, so that modern readers could appreciate the full development of the form. His major works are Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion: The Classic Genre for Children and the Process of Civilization (1983) and Fairy Tale as Myth/Myth as Fairy Tale (coll 1994). His study of the Grimm Brothers, The Brothers Grimm (1988), goes beyond their lives and works to explore their influence on German literature. He has also published his own translation of their stories in The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (coll 1987 US), and has continued to explore the German passion for the fairytale in Fairy Tales and Fables from the Weimar Days (anth 1989; vt Utopian Tales from Weimar 1990 UK), which examines its subversive political use in the 1920s, and The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse (coll 1995), which shows Hesse's use of the fairytale to reflect the mood of modern Romanticism.

JZ's anthologies began with a detailed analysis of the Little Red Riding-Hood story, The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood (anth 1983; rev 1993), with 35 versions of the tale from the Grimm Brothers to Angela Carter. Don't Bet on the Prince (anth 1986) considered the contemporary feminist use of the fairytale. Victorian Fairy Tales: The Revolt of the Fairies and Elves (anth 1987) explores the moral and didactic role of the fairytale for the Victorians. In Beauties, Beasts and Enchantments: Classic French Fairy Tales (anth 1989) JZ turns to classic French fairytales, showing their satirical nature and exploring the transition from folktale to literary fairytale. Spells of Enchantment (anth 1991; vt The Penguin Book of Western Fairy Tales 1993 UK) is a massive compilation tracing the history of the Wonder Tale from the 2nd century to today. The Outspoken Princess and the Gentle Knight (anth 1994) looks at the modern fairytale. [MA]

other works (as editor): The Arabian Nights: The Marvels and Wonders of the Thousand and One Nights (1991).

Jack David Zipes


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.