The fairy tales collected by the brothers Grimm are among the best kwn and most widely-read stories in western literature. In recent years commentators such as Bru Bettelheim have, usually from a psychological perspective, pondered the underlying meaning of the stories, why children are so enthralled by them, and what effect they have on the developing child. In this book, Ronald Murphy takes five of the best-kwn tales ( Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Sw White, and Sleeping Beauty ) and shows that the Grimms saw them as Christian fables. Murphy examines the arguments of previous interpreters of the tales, and demonstrates how they missed the Grimms' intention. His own readings of the five so-called magical tales reveal them as the beautiful and inspiring documents of faith that the Grimms meant them to be. Offering an entirely new perspective on these often-analyzed tales, Murphy's book will appeal to those concerned with the moral and religious education of children, to students and scholars of folk literature and children's literature, and to the many general readers who are captivated by fairy tales and their meanings.
Ronald Murphy is George M. Roth Distinguished Professor of German at Georgetown University.