Fairy Grandmothers: Images of Storytelling Events in Nineteenth-Century Germany


  • Willem de Blécourt



Mots-clés :

fairy tales, narrators, images, Germany, nineteenth century


Typical nineteenth‐century German images of elderly female storytellers capture them in the act of relating Märchen to young children. When these images reached a mass public, they reinforced the idea of a timeless female oral tradition. As researchers of oral tales hardly ever recorded any actual female storytellers, the images belonged for the most part to a romantic myth of Germanyʹs past. Towards the end of the century, artists started to produce more realistic paintings of female storytellers. This coincided with the growing popularity of fairy‐tale books which were indeed mostly read to children by women.

Biographie de l'auteur-e

Willem de Blécourt

Willem de Blécourt is an honorary research fellow at the Meertens Institute, Amsterdam. His book Tales of Magic, Tales in Print will appear with Manchester University Press later in 2010.




Comment citer

de Blécourt, W. (2010) « Fairy Grandmothers: Images of Storytelling Events in Nineteenth-Century Germany », RELIEF - Revue électronique de littérature française, 4(2), p. 174-197. doi: 10.18352/relief.544.



II. Nouvelles fonctions de l’illustration pendant le long XIXe siècle