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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Hellmut H Ammerlahn
C LIT 330
Seattle Campus

The European Fairy Tale

An introduction to folktales and literary tales from various traditions and periods. A discussion of their origin, special characteristics, dissemination, and relevance to the contemporary reader.

Class description

Fairy tales enchant children and they fascinate adults, who study their deeper meaning and the impact they have exerted on all ages and cultures. In this course we shall first explore the oral traditions and variations of selected "classic" European folktales as they have been collected by Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm and others. Then we shall turn to literary fairy tales written by well-known authors such as Hans Christian Andersen, Carlo Collodi, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Ludwig Tieck, and Oscar Wilde and examine how and for what purpose they wrote their own "art tales."

After an introduction to the historical and aesthetic features of the two related genres, we shall focus on the elements of the miraculous, on major recurring motifs and symbols as well as on typical human and animal characteristics of fairy tales. Freudian and Jungian theoretical approaches will be employed to demonstrate the fairy tales' psychological relevance for child development, for dealing with the hopes and fears of the inner world, and for seeking personal and social integration.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Lectures and discussions, some film showings. Students participate in one group presentation (on selected topics of their choice).

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Reading and interpretation of primary and some secondary texts

Class participation, group project, in-class midterm, and take-home final


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Hellmut H Ammerlahn
Date: 02/08/2006