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The Irresistible Fairy TaleThe Cultural and Social History of a Genre$
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Jack Zipes

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691153384

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691153384.001.0001

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The Cultural Evolution of Storytelling and Fairy Tales: Human Communication and Memetics

The Cultural Evolution of Storytelling and Fairy Tales: Human Communication and Memetics

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 The Cultural Evolution of Storytelling and Fairy Tales: Human Communication and Memetics
Source:
The Irresistible Fairy Tale
Author(s):

Jack Zipes

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691153384.003.0001

This chapter expands on the author's most recent books, Why Fairy Tales Stick and Relentless Progress, and includes new research by scholars interested in interdisciplinary approaches to cultural evolution. It clarifies why and how tales were created and told, and formed the basis of culture. It suggests that oral tales were imitated and replicated as memes in antiquity to form the fiber of culture and tradition. Taxonomies in the nineteenth century were established in response to recognizable features of tales as well as to organize and order types of stories. “Modern” genres originated during the Enlightenment and are basically social institutions that have defined cultural artifacts and patterns, divided them rationally into disciplines, and established rules and regulations for their study. In many ways, the fairy tale defies such definition and categorization.

Keywords:   fairy tales, culture, oral tales, memes, tradition, Enlightenment, modern genres

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