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Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales (Oddly Modern Fairy Tales)

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Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales (Oddly Modern Fairy Tales) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

"In these absurdist parables, Schwitters's savage clowning empties the fairy tale of its easy consolations. He revisits the traditions in the melancholic, mordant voice of irony and satire, and, as with other fabulists--Voltaire, Swift, Kafka, Capek--his stories still speak to us now as freshly as when they were written, and entertain us richly."--Marina Warner, author of Phantasmagoria

"Kurt Schwitters's fairy tales can be safely read to children, without boring the parents. While children will be delightfully dreaming themselves in wondrous worlds, the parents can contemplate existential questions and take shortcuts to understanding the absurdity of war, the vacuity of power, and the vanity of wealth. Schwitters, the most childlike Dadaist, was a fierce defender of innocence and an equally fierce critic of society. His tales are well drawn paths in a magically lit moral landscape."--Andrei Codrescu, author of The Posthuman Dada Guide

"This collection of Kurt Schwitters's little-known fairy tales reveals that he was a master of literary satire in addition to being one of Weimar Germany's most prominent artists. With its elegant translations, charmingly impudent illustrations, and lively introduction, this book will earn a steady readership."--Maria Tatar, editor of The Classic Fairy Tales

"This is a very enjoyable collection of subversively humorous stories, and I found myself laughing out loud while reading them. The fairy tale served as apt material for Kurt Schwitters to play with conventions, produce nonsense within well-known plots, or wreak havoc in everyday routines, all in order to critique bourgeois values, religion, nationalism, and Nazism, and to open up the imaginations of children and adults to his artistic worldview."--Cristina Bacchilega, author of Postmodern Fairy Tales

"Schwitters's fairy tales are especially interesting because they document the vitality of experimentation in the genre that occurred in Germany in the first half of the twentieth century. While Grimms' tales were increasingly co-opted by nationalists and fascists, writers such as Schwitters sought to rewrite the genre as a form of sociopolitical resistance and cultural reformation. Translated, edited, and introduced by Jack Zipes, the world's leading expert on the fairy tale, this volume has a special value."--Donald Haase, editor of Marvels and Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies

Synopsis:

Kurt Schwitters revolutionized the art world in the 1920s with his Dadaist Merz collages, theater performances, and poetry. But at the same time he was also writing extraordinary fairy tales that were turning the genre upside down and inside out. Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales is the first collection of these subversive, little-known stories in any language and the first time all but a few of them have appeared in English. Translated and introduced by Jack Zipes, one of the world's leading authorities on fairy tales, this book gathers thirty-two stories written between 1925 and Schwitters's death in 1948--including a complete English-language recreation of The Scarecrow, a children's book illustrated with avant-garde typography that Schwitters created with Kate Steinitz and De Stijl founder Theo van Doesburg. Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales also includes brilliant new illustrations that evoke the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

Schwitters wrote these darkly humorous, satirical, and surreal tales at a time when traditional German fairy tales were being co-opted by the Nazis. Filled with sharp critiques of German life during the Weimar and early Nazi eras, Schwitters's tales are rich with absurdist events and insist that not everyone--and perhaps not anyone--lives happily ever after. In "Lucky Hans," the starving protagonist tries to catch a rabbit only to have it shed its fur like a coat and run off naked into the forest. In other tales, a sarcastic gypsy stands in for a fairy godmother and an army recruit is arrested for growing to monstrous size.

Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales is a delightfully strange and surprising book.

About the Author

Jack Zipes is a leading authority on fairy tales. His translations include "The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm" and "The Fairy Tales of Hermann Hesse" (both Bantam). He is the editor of "The Great Fairy Tale Tradition" (Norton), and the author of "Why Fairy Tales Stick" and "Hans Christian Andersen", among many other books. He is professor emeritus of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota.

Table of Contents

Translator's Note and Acknowledgments xi
Kurt Schwitters, Politics, and the Merz Fairy Tale 1

Tales Written in German

Chapter 1: The Swineherd and the Great, Illustrious Writer 41
Der Schweinehirt und der Dichterfürst (1925)

Chapter 2: Lucky Hans 49
Der glückliche Hans (1925)

Chapter 3: Happiness 57
Das Glück (1925)

Chapter 4: The Little Clock Spirit and the Lovers 61
Uhrgeistchen und Liebespaar (1925)

Chapter 5: The Proud Young Woman 63
Das stolze Mädchen (1925)

Chapter 6: An Old Fairy Tale 67
Altes Märchen (1925)

Chapter 7: The Scarecrow 72
Die Scheuche (1925)--A children's book created with Kate Steinitz and Theo van Doesburg

Chapter 8: He 85
Er (1927)

Chapter 9: Fish and Man 103
Fisch und Mensch (1927)

Chapter 10: The Squinting Doll 105
Die schielende Puppe (1927)

Chapter 11: Three Suitcases 107
Drei Koff er (1927)

Chapter 12: Fairy Tale 115
Märchen (1928)

Chapter 13: A King without People 116
König ohne Volk (1932)

Chapter 14: The Story about the Good Man 119
Die Fabel vom guten Menschen (1933)

Chapter 15: Happy Country 121
Glückliches Land (1933)

Chapter 16: The Story about the Rabbit 123
Die Geschichte vom Hasen (1934)

Chapter 17: The Three Wishes 125
Die drei Wünsche (1936)

Chapter 18: The Ugly Young Woman: A Fairy Tale 131
Das häßliche Mädchen: Ein Märchen (1937)

Chapter 19: The Two Brothers 137
Die beiden Brüder (1938)

Chapter 20: The Fish and the Ship's Propeller 143
Der Fisch und die Schiff sschraube (1938)

Chapter 21: Transformations 145
Verwandlungen (1938)

Chapter 22: He Who Is Mentally Retarded 153
Der, der da geistig arm ist (1938)

Chapter 23: Hans and Grete: A Fairy Tale about
Children Who Live in the Woods 161
Hans und Grete: Märchen von Kindern, die im Walde wohnen (1939)

Chapter 24: The Fairy Tale about Happiness 165
Das Märchen vom Glück (1930-1940)

Chapter 25: Normal Insanity 169
Normaler Unsinn (1930-1940)

Chapter 26: What Is Happiness 173
Was ist das Glück (1940-1945)

Chapter 27: The Man with the Glass Nose 179
Der Mann mit dem gläsernen Nase (1945)

Chapter 28: Once upon a Time There Was a Tiny Mouse 183
Es war einmal eine kleine Maus (1941-1946)

Tales Written in English

Chapter 29: The Flat and the Round Painter 189
(1941)

Chapter 30: London: A Fairy Tale 193
(1942)

Chapter 31: The Flying Fish 197
(1944)

Chapter 32: Twopenny Novel about an Ugly Girl 203
(1941-1945)

Appendix: German Version of "Die Scheuche" 207
Notes 221
Bibliography 233

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691160993
Author:
Schwitters, Kurt
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Author:
Zipes, Jack
Author:
Jack Zi
Author:
Peacock, Irvine
Author:
PES
Subject:
Folklore
Subject:
Literature: Primary Works and Letters
Subject:
Comparative Literature
Subject:
Mythology-Folklore and Storytelling
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20140431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Illustrations:
31 halftones. 26 line illus.
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8 x 5.5 in

Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Art » Artists
Arts and Entertainment » Art » Painting » General
Humanities » Mythology » Folklore and Storytelling

Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales (Oddly Modern Fairy Tales) New Trade Paper
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$16.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691160993 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

Kurt Schwitters revolutionized the art world in the 1920s with his Dadaist Merz collages, theater performances, and poetry. But at the same time he was also writing extraordinary fairy tales that were turning the genre upside down and inside out. Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales is the first collection of these subversive, little-known stories in any language and the first time all but a few of them have appeared in English. Translated and introduced by Jack Zipes, one of the world's leading authorities on fairy tales, this book gathers thirty-two stories written between 1925 and Schwitters's death in 1948--including a complete English-language recreation of The Scarecrow, a children's book illustrated with avant-garde typography that Schwitters created with Kate Steinitz and De Stijl founder Theo van Doesburg. Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales also includes brilliant new illustrations that evoke the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

Schwitters wrote these darkly humorous, satirical, and surreal tales at a time when traditional German fairy tales were being co-opted by the Nazis. Filled with sharp critiques of German life during the Weimar and early Nazi eras, Schwitters's tales are rich with absurdist events and insist that not everyone--and perhaps not anyone--lives happily ever after. In "Lucky Hans," the starving protagonist tries to catch a rabbit only to have it shed its fur like a coat and run off naked into the forest. In other tales, a sarcastic gypsy stands in for a fairy godmother and an army recruit is arrested for growing to monstrous size.

Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales is a delightfully strange and surprising book.

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