Folk tales and criticism

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“There is a constant stream of offered interpretations of folk tales, although these tend to come from disciplines other than folklore: perhaps folklorists are too acutely aware of the pitfalls and problems to venture much into this area. Oral literature has been popular, particularly, with various schools of psychoanalysis, with their interest in dreams and symbols. And it is true that fairy tales seem to speak out of some borderland where symbolic meanings are promised but not delivered, so the temptation to try and crack the code is irresistible. Lately, more critics trained in reading literary texts have entered the field, and among them I find the feminist critics often have the most interesting things to say.” (p3)

Ref: Rose Lovell-Smith ‘Diamonds and Toads: The Kind and unkind girls in fairy tale’ (conference paper)

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