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Craving Supernatural Creatures: German Fairy-Tale Figures in American Pop Culture

Thursday, April 25, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Evangeline Mee
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Claudia Schwabe's Craving Supernatural Creatures: German Fairy-Tale Figures in American Pop Culture analyzes supernatural creatures in order to demonstrate how German fairy tales treat difference, alterity, and Otherness with terror, distance, and negativity, whereas contemporary North American popular culture adaptations navigate diversity by humanizing and redeeming such figures. This trend of transformation reflects a greater tolerance of other marginalized groups (in regard to race, ethnicity, ability, age, gender, sexual orientation, social class, religion, etc.) and acceptance of diversity in society today. The fairy-tale adaptations examined here are more than just twists on old stories—they serve as the looking glasses of significant cultural trends, customs, and social challenges. Whereas the fairy-tale adaptations that Claudia Schwabe analyzes suggest that Otherness can and should be fully embraced, they also highlight the gap that still exists between the representation and the reality of embracing diversity wholeheartedly in twenty-first-century America.

 

The book’s four chapters are structured around different supernatural creatures, beginning in chapter 1 with Schwabe’s examination of the automaton, the golem, and the doppelganger, which emerged as popular figures in Germany in the early nineteenth century, and how media, such as Edward Scissorhands and Sleepy Hollow, dramatize, humanize, and infantilize these "uncanny" characters in multifaceted ways. Chapter 2 foregrounds the popular figures of the evil queen and witch in contemporary retellings of the Grimms’ fairy tale "Snow White." Chapter 3 deconstructs the concept of the monstrous Other in fairy tales by scrutinizing the figure of the Big Bad Wolf in popular culture, including Once Upon a Time and the Fables comic book series. In chapter 4, Schwabe explores the fairy-tale dwarf, claiming that adaptations today emphasize the diversity of dwarves' personalities and celebrate the potency of their physicality.

 

Craving Supernatural Creatures is a unique contribution to the field of fairy-tale studies and is essential reading for students, scholars, and pop-culture aficionados alike.

For more information, visit the book's press page on Wayne State University Press's website.



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