viernes, 17 de julio de 2009

Click on The Following Titles and Find your Favourite Fairy Tale

People who contributed to the Analysis of Literature for Children


In 1942, Ireland, a very revolutionary man in terms of education was born. He was conceived under the name of Kieran Egan, someone who gradually could make his own conclusions about how to establish the best condition for learning.

He received educational formation in England, and studied history in 1966 and also got a teaching certificate at the University of London. Then he moved to the United States where he went on studying obtaining a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Education at Cornell University. He published an untold number of works including books and articules not only as an author but also as an editor and co-editor. The most famous are“Teaching as Story Telling: an alternatiive approach to teaching and curriculum in the elementary school”(1989), “Imagination in Teaching and Learning” (1992), “The Educated Mind: How cognitive tools shape our understanding” (1997) and”Teaching literacy:engaging the imagination of new readers and writers” (2006).

This author proposed a new approach for learning giving importance to the historical background every human being has and supporting that our minds have a natural development of understanding which is manifested through a process formed by four stages that built upon each other: mythic(the mythical accounts that helps to comprehend the world thruogh stories) , romantic(when someone discovers the relationship between what was told and his/her own experience), philosofic(when person organizes the knowledge that carries with him/herself taking into consideration a logical model scheme), ironic(has to do with details a person can modify in order to improve certain habits already incorporated).

As from these features he expanded his explanation adding that this cognitive development could not be carried out without the stimulation, use and development of cognitve tools(the characteristics of the mind that makes understandable the world that surrounds us) , specially during the earlier stages; the tools can take form of stories, metaphors, rhyme and rhythm, vivid images and jokes involving two components, imagination and literacy with a mixture of hopes, fears, passions,wonders, fantasy, magic, justice and the appreciation of the good and the evil.

A final point he emphazises has to do with the educational purposes teachers should bear in mind, that underlies his theory as well. They are:-To cover the need of academic education-To create an enviroment in which student could develop their learning as autonomus learners, and -To allow students could develop social interaction.

Maria Tatar is the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and Chair of the Program in Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University where she teaches literature for children, German culture and folklore.;she studied in Munich and Berlin and wrote several articules for The New York Times, The New Republic and

This intellectual woman based her investigations on the analysis of different versions of traditional fairy tales and related them to a sociocultural perspective which recognises the effects that these tales cause on children.

Supported by the cultural background,she states that the ‘pedagogical purpose’ of fairy tales did not always work out the same. At the beginning, by 1814 with Grimm brothers, for example, the goal had to do more with the passage from childhood to adulthood than with the fact of conveying a moral learning, so that stories were rather violent and bloody that nobody cared of children’s emotional impacts. Many years later, as time went by, new authors critisized this way of storytelling because of the damages they could provoke on a child at a phychological level: what children are told is inherited and internalized and their later reactions might not be the most adequate ones.

Opposed to this point of view, Tatar argues that the natural enchantment, beauty,astonishment and magic of fairy tales derive,exactly, from cruelty,cannibalism, horror and fears the plot creates on the reader’s mind:in the end horror takes revenge and happily-ever-after triumphs; moreover she helds that what no one can deny is the socializing function of tales as a model of helping children to understand how to outlive in a world ruled by adults. The point is that, initially, stories were originated in a culture of adults so that questions of loss, death, punishment, anxiety, desires,love and passion were not a strange matter to include when writing them.

Maria Tatar has written "Spellbound: Studies on Mesmerism and Literature," "Classic Fairy Tales," The Annotated Brothers Grimm and Enchanted Hunters: The Power of Stories in Childhood" (April 2009, W. W. Norton). In this last one she compiles forty new translated stories of the Brother Grimm with 150 pictures

This man was an Austrian Jew who graduated at the University of Viena getting a degree in Philosofy. However, his fervent passion for psychology and Freud’s work about Psychoanalysis made he dedicate himself to several investigation that concluded in a large number of books and articules after emigrating to the United States in 1939 once he was released from a concentration camp during the WWII. He also worked as a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago where he became the Director of the University of Chicago's Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School, a place for treating children that suffered from an emotional disturbance commomly known as autism , in spite of not having an official degree of that branch.

Apart from this contibution, he wrote about the effects of fairy tales on children including Freudian psychology as well, in his master piece “The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales” (1976). In this book he analised children sexual anxiety and their aspiration of conciousness that at first sight seems to be something beastly -a represive model of socialization- but in fact at a subconciuos level is something beautiful.

Bettelheim also stressed the moralist importace of traditional fairy tales as a symbol that shapes the children psychic development regarding to aspects such as the beginnig “once upon a time...”that helps inserting the child into a fantasy world, the happy endings,odd numbers conveying the idea of fullness, the presence of heroes/heroines and the evils meaning ‘the bads are always punished and the goods always gain recognition’ and the fact of making children to be alert from people they never met before, among others matters.

In contrast,one of the issues he critisizes is the way many authors, Brothers Grimm for instance, introduce stories as a model of socilization. Some of them are expressed with much cruelty and this may affect the child generating psychological conflicts that probably lead to a number of dangers involved in developing conciousness.

Between the stories he took into account to argue his perspective it is worthy mentioning “Rapunzel”, “ The ThreeLittle pigs”, “Cinderella”, “ Little Red Riding Hood”, “Snow White”, “Sleeping Beaty”.

Despite of his great contributions Bruno Bettelheim committed suicide in 1990, accused of having abused and punished his patients apart from inventing academic achievements.

miércoles, 15 de julio de 2009


He was born in Russia in 1895. There, in St Petersburg precisely, at Petrograd State University, he started studying Russian and German philology in 1914, but it was not until 1938 than he decided to get totally involved in a research destinated to the analysis of Russian fairy tales when he took part in the Department of Russian Literature.
Influenced by a strong Russian Formalist approach,meaning analysing structures of a sentence that are broken into smaller elements with meaning -morphemes-, he proposed applying this approach in 100 folktales in order to compare the results.He spotted the complexity of wonder tales an their variants so that he, as from dividing the tales into smaller narrative units/elements, or narratemes, could hold that:
a. there are generally 31 functions(click here to see them)
in the whole plot and,
b. the kind of characters that typically appear are seven- the villain, the donor, the (magical) helper, the princess and her father, the dispatcher, the hero or victim/seeker hero and the false hero- .
A further characteristic about characters is that it is possible to find them in not only literature but also television, films and theatre .
All these features based on structuralist ideas were published in his book Morphology of the Folktale in 1928; other three works that followed the same tendency were also released, The Historical Roots of Fairy-Tale (1946), Russian Heroic Epics (1958), and Russian Agrarian Feast-days (1963).
He died in 1970 in the same place where he was born.

jueves, 2 de julio de 2009

Three important Names who Shaped Literature for Children

Charles Perrault

He and his twin were born in 1628 (-1703)in Paris.
Coming from a family who provided him opportunities of being an educated person,he started his job as a writer publishing his first book in 1697;it consisted of eight stories, folk tales, whose title was Stories or Tales from Times Past, with Morals; for him what he wrote were simply named "stories", but the interesting aspect about these stories is that he was the first one who gave them literary legitimacy. Among the most traditional ones we can mention Blue Beard, Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty in the Woods.The impact his work provoke among people was such that his stories became very popular throughout the entire world, even nowadays(though them became more modern versions, )
Perrault also published other three fairy tales written by himself, they were Griselda,The Ridiculous Wishes and Donkey Skin.

Grimm Brothers

The first, Jacob Ludwig Carl Grimm, as well as the second, Wilhelm Carl Grimm, were born in Hanau, Germany in 1785 and 1786 respectively. They both studied law and took part in the elaboration of the German dictionary, which was published after they died. In 1812 they were ready to introduce Kinder- und Hausmärchen,their 82 folk tales first collection. Two years later,they republished this book, but this time they added 70 stories. Their final production(the 6th edition) had 200 stories and 10 legends for children. Fortunately, this book was not all they left, apart from it, this clever couple worked on 585 German legends which were compiled and published under the name of Deutsche Sagen between 1816 and 1818. Wilhelm Grimm passed away in 1859 and his brother Jacob in 1863.

Hans Christian Andersen

This man was born in Odense, Denmark in 1805 .
When he was 14, he joined a group of theatre players in Copenhagen; he tried different artistic branches, including playwright but none suited him. In 1822 Jonas Collin, his guardian, allowed him to receive academic education from a school in Slagelse and Elsinore. There, in Slagelse ,he wrote his first poem 'The dying Child' where he expressed the relationship he had with the Principal.That was, in a way, the begining of his carreer as a writer, not only of poems but also of novels, plays and tales (what, gradually, made he become very famous around Europe). His first official works were Tour de force, Fodreise fra Holmens Canal til Østpynten af Amager and the play, Kjærlighed paa Nicolai Taarn (1829). In 1831 published a collections of poems and in 1835 his novel Improvisatoren as well as the booklets of fairy tales for children Eventyr, fortalte for Børn. He continued writing fairy tales in 1843, Nye Eventyr, and 1872, Nye Eventyr og Historier. He died in 1875.