chapter  Chapter 17
21 Pages

The Nursery and Household Tales and their influence

ByRuth Michaelis-Jena

Criticism or no criticism, the Nursery and Household Tales were selling. The publication of the Household Tales was a fertilizing influence on literature as a whole, but it made a quite special impact on the writing for children. From the very beginning the Nursery and Household Tales inspired artists, with illustrators in almost every part of the world. French artists are apt to emphasize the pretty and elegant – seven charming little beds with puffy muslin curtains, in the house of Snow-White’s dwarfs. Countries of the Middle and Far East sometimes begin by reprinting European illustrations, to commission work by local artists for later editions. It is true also that the traditional tale’s simplicity is best suited to the spoken word, and that with a young child, the teller who has ‘the feel’ of his audience, can adapt or even shorten a frightening tale.