Fairy Tales and Fables from Weimar Days

© Springer​​​​​​​Collected Utopian Tales
Edited by Jack Zipes
1st March
£19.50 | $34.99 | Softcover | 978-3-319-69274-6

This fascinating and accessible collection of lost fairy tales embodies the political ideals of the interwar years in Germany, drawing remarkable parallels to today’s political climate. This very special revised edition is edited and translated by the world's leading expert on fairy tales, Jack Zipes, and features striking illustrations commissioned specifically for this book.

Against a backdrop of financial and political instability, widespread homelessness, and the reformation of public institutions, many gifted political writers of the Weimar Republic (1919-1933) responded to the need for hope among the common people by transforming traditional German fairy tales and fables into utopian narratives and social commentary.

The authors replaced classic fairy tale tropes with the automobiles, noisy cities, and social conflicts of the 1920s and 1930s, bringing these tales firmly into modern times. The stories challenge the rise of fascism during this time, and although many of them deal with the grim situation of common people and their apparent helplessness, they are founded on the principle of hope.

These tales were written before all progressive experimentation with fairy tales and folktales was banned by the Nazi regime, and many of the authors were later killed, persecuted, or forced into exile.

This first new edition in 20 years includes three new tales and more than 50 beautiful illustrations by contemporary international artists. Together, the stories and images reveal how the chaos and conflict of the Weimar Republic bears a striking resemblance to the conditions in which we presently live. In this respect, the Weimar fairy tales and fables have not lost their spirit and significance.

Zipes shows us that the questions these tales ask and the issues they raise have not yet been resolved, and we are still confronted with exploitation, ecological disaster, class struggle, war, racism, and hypocrisy. He argues that recovering the utopian spirit of these Weimar tales can serve as a reminder that their narratives of hope are still awaiting fulfillment and that ultimately we are responsible for making this world a better place for future generations.

“As relevant now as they were in Weimar Germany, these remarkable fairy tales speak truth to power. Confronting injustice, inequality, and tyranny, the tales Jack Zipes has translated in this compelling collection serve not only to unmask social and political abuses, but also to empower the powerless, affirm the power of hope, and incite readers to action.” —Professor Donald Haase, Wayne State University, USA

“In a time of political polarization, the political fairy tales of Weimar deserve to be revisited. They transport readers into a utopian realm where political tensions can be reframed and resolved rather than reiterated. Illustrations by contemporary artists blur the boundary between past and present and allow them to illuminate each other.” —Professor Anne Leblans, St Mary’s College of Maryland, USA




About the author
Jack Zipes is Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, USA. Some of his recent publications include: Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre (2006), The Enchanted Screen: The Unknown History of Fairy-Tale Films (2010), and Grimm Legacies: The Magic Power of Fairy Tales (2014).

For more information or to get in touch with the author please contact:
Rebecca Krahenbuhl – Communications Manager, Palgrave Macmillan
rebecca.krahenbuhl@palgrave.com, +44 020 7014 6634