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Jack Zipes (Fairy Tale Expert) - Grimm

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Jack Zipes is Professor Emeritus of German at the University of Minnesota. In 1997 he founded a storytelling and creative drama program, Neighbourhood Bridges, in collaboration with the Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis that is still thriving in the elementary schools of the Twin Cities. Regarded as a major American translator, he has published The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm (1987), Beauties, Beasts, and Enchantment: Classic French Fairy Tales (1989), and The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse (1995). Darren Rea caught up with Zipes as Universal Playback released Grimm: Season One on Blu-ray and DVD...

Darren Rea: Do you think that fairy tales play as important a role in the formative years of today's children as they always have?

Interview imageJack Zipes: Yes, I believe that fairy tales are still highly significant, but children are more apt to be exposed to fairy tales through television, films, advertisements, plays, musicals, and other mass media rather than through books and reading.

As part of popular culture, fairy tales still have an impact on the way children imagine the world.

DR: Everyone knows the classic fairy tales but which of the less well known tales do you find the most bizarre?

ZS: To tell the truth, there are tons of fairy tales that are weird and bizarre. Most people do not know the full 210 fairy tales and folk tales in the Grimms' collection. There are unusual tales about children butchering each other, human flesh as meals, the beating of children in graves, men tearing apart ghosts and demons.

DR: Which is the oldest, and most globally recognised fairytale and why do you think it managed to become so popular?

Interview imageJZ: It is impossible to ascertain the exact dates of fairy tales, how, when, and why they originated. Most of the research can trace the tales to pre-Christian times but without being able to document the origins.

DR: The first season of Grimm is released on Blu-ray and DVD, do you think/hope that it will introduce a whole new generation to some of the lesser known mythical beasts; that it will result in some of the lesser known tales being rediscovered?

JZ: The creators of Grimm have an unusual and original imagination. Most of their inventions of werewolf creatures, that is, the fantastic creatures that inhabit human bodies, cannot be discovered in the Grimms' fairy-tale collection. In some ways they have outdone the Grimms.

The Grimm "beasts" will not stimulate viewers to read lesser known tales because these beasts cannot be found there. So, one of the drawing points of Grimm is the originality of its creators - they are exploring new terrain in popular culture.

DR: If you woke up tomorrow and had been changed into one fairytale creature what would it be and why?

Interview imageJZ: If I were to wake up and become a fairy-tale creature, I'd like to be one of the protagonists who are given marvelous gifts such as the invisible cloak, the seven-league boots, enormous strength, the horn that calls forth powerful armies, etc.

Why? I would use those gifts to banish all the corrupt politicians from this earth, undo all the damage that they have caused, and bring about greater equality for all people and ban all organized religions!

DR: Are there any tales that still send a shiver down your spine, even now...

JZ: Tales have never sent shiver down my spine. They have given me more hope than dread.

DR: If you were to chose one fairy tale to survive long after mankind has died out... which would it be and why?

JZ: I think the tale "How Six Went Out into the World" is the one tale that I hope survives because it is about six extraordinary men who right wrongs and cooperate to defeat an evil king and his daughter. It is a tale that has fostered super heroes, x-men, samurai, and other heroes of justice in popular culture.

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With thanks to Paul Ockelford

Grimm: Season One is released through Universal Playback from 22 October 2012.

Click here to buy Grimm: Season One on Blu-ray for £28.00 (RRP: £49.99)
Click here to buy Grimm: Season One on DVD for £25.00 (RRP: £39.99)

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