The Uses of the Supernatural by Perrault and by the Brothers Grimm Cover Image
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L’usage du surnaturel chez Perrault et chez les Grimm
The Uses of the Supernatural by Perrault and by the Brothers Grimm

Author(s): Pierre-Emmanuel Moog
Subject(s): Studies of Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Keywords: Fairy tales; wonder; supernatural; magic; verisimilitude; Charles Perrault; Brothers Grimm;
Summary/Abstract: In fairy tales, supernatural events usually do not disturb characters. However, the poetics of the genre still needs to address how it introduces such events to readers. A thorough comparison of similar tales by Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm reveals opposite uses. The classic French tales actually contain very little supernatural, with few agents of magic, and whenever magic is used, it is clearly delineated. The German romantic tales intertwine the real world and the supernatural one, blurring the lines between them. As a result, the poetics of the tales by the Brothers Grimm relies on the supernatural to redress the real world and attain immanent justice in a moral universe, whereas the limited use of the supernatural in Perrault’s tales, while stressing the verisimilitude of the situations overall, allows for the acceleration of the narration and a focus on what is truly at stake in these stories.

  • Page Range: 238-252
  • Page Count: 15
  • Publication Year: 2018
  • Language: French