Jack Zipes

July 2005
Jack Zipes’s CV now available here

Jack Zipes

by Louisa Smith
used by permission

Photo of Jack with writer Neil Gaiman

used by permission

Author, scholar, teacher, translator, activist Jack Zipes has transformed research on fairy tales from the superficial discussions of suitability and violence to the linguistic roots and socialization function of the tales. According to Zipes, fairy tales “serve a meaningful social function not just for compensation but for revelation: the the worlds projected by the best of our fairy tales reveal the gaps between truth and falsehood in our immediate society.” After Zipes, no one can view a Disney rendition with equanimity again.

Now a professor of German at the University of Minnesota, Jack Zipes has also taught at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, the University of Florida, and New York University. He has written twenty-five books, many of which are accessible to the lay reader which is in keeping with his reputation as a public scholar. Titles such as Don’t Bet on the Prince and The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Ridinghood mask the serious scholarship behind the books. A PhD in comparative literature from Columbia resulted from an extended stay in Germany where he went to write a novel and discovered German which led to a reading knowledge of French, Italian, and Spanish. Political activism in the late sixties forged a critical examination of fairy tales and their role in gender directives. This background also led to the formation of the journal New German Critique and his acceptance of the editorship of The Lion and the Unicorn, a critical journal on children’s literature. He has been willing to speak to audiences as diverse as public school children and scholars of fantasy. He is married to author Carol Dines, and is the father of an eight year old daughter. Zipes has brought new life to the term interdisciplinary. Fortunately, he chose fairy tales as a focus for his scholarship.

A very partial bibiography for Jack Zipes

Arabian nights : the marvels and wonders of the Thousand and one nights . adapted from Richard F. Burton’ s unexpurgated translation by Jack Zipes. (New York: Signet Classic, 1991).
Beauties, beasts, and enchantment : classic French fairy tales, translated and with an introduction by Jack Zipes. (NY: New American Library, 1989).
Breaking the magic spell : radical theories of folk and fairytales (Austin : U of Texas Pr, 1979).
The Brothers Grimm : from enchanted forests to the modernworld (NY: Routledge, 1988)
The complete fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm , translated and with an introduction by Jack Zipes ; illus. by John B. Gruelle. (NY: Bantam, 1987)
[ed.] Don’t bet on the prince : contemporary feminist fairy tales inNorth America and England ( New York : Methuen, 1986)
[ed.] Fairy tales and fables from Weimar days translated by Jack Zipes. (Hanover : University Press of New England, 1989)
Fairy tales and the art of subversion : the classical genre for children and the process of civilization (London : Heinemann Educational Books, 1983)
[ed.] Stockton, Frank Richard. The fairy tales of Frank Stockton with an afterword by Jack Zipes. (N.Y., U.S.A. : Signet Classic, 1990)
[ed.] Germans and Jews since the holocaust : the changing situationin West Germany ed. with Anson Rabinbach (N Y: Holmes & Meier, 1986)
The great refusal. Studies of the romantic hero in German and American literature. (Bad Homburg, Athenaum-Verl., 1970)
The operated Jew : two tales of anti-semitism translated with commentary by Jack Zipes. (N Y: Routledge, 1991)
[ed.]Political plays for children : the Grips Theater of Berlin . ed. and translated by Jack Zipes (St. Louis: Telos Press, 1976).
[ed.] Spells of enchantment : the wondrous fairy tales of Western culture (N.Y: Viking, 1991)
The trials and tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood :versions of the tale in sociocultural context/ (South Hadley, MA: Bergin & Garvey, 1983)
[ed.] Victorian Fairy Tales: The Revolt of the Fairies and Elves, (NY: Methuen, 1987).

Ed. with Louisa Smith, many issues of The Lion and the Unicorn: A Critical Journal of Children’s Literature , featuring such topics as “The International scene in children’s literature,” “The Arts in Children’s Literature,” “Political Correctness and Cultural Literacy,” and “Taking Political Stock: New Theoretical and Critical Approaches to Anglo-American Children’s Literature in the 1980s.”

Also many articles, such as:
“Spreading Myths About Fairy Tales: A Critical Commentary on Robert Bly’s Iron John,” in New German Critique: An Interdisciplinary Journal of German Studies , 55: 3-19, Winter 1992.
“Negating History and Male Fantasies through Psychoanalytical Criticism,” Children’s Literature: An International Journal,vol. 18, 1990
“The Origins of the Fairy Tale for Children: Or, How Script Was Used to Tame the Beast in Us” in Avery, Gillian (ed.); Briggs, Julia (ed.). Children and Their Books: A Celebration of the Work of Iona and Peter Opie. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1989).
“Fairy Tale as Myth/Myth as Fairy Tale,” in Gannon, Susan R. (ed.); Thompson, Ruth Anne (ed.). Cross-Culturalism in Children’s Literature: Selected Papers from the Children’s Literature Association, (New York: Pace Univ., 1988).
“Critical Observations on Recent Psychoanalytical Approaches to the Tales of the Brothers Grimm,” Merveilles et Contes., 1 (1): 19-30, May 1987.
“The Enchanted Forest of the Brothers Grimm: New Modes of Approaching the Grimms’ Fairy Tales,” Germanic Review , 62 (2): 66-74, Spring 1987
“The Grimms and the German Obsession with Fairy Tales,” and “Marxists and the Illumination of Folk and Fairy Tales” in Bottigheimer, Ruth B. (ed. & pref.). Fairy Tales and Society: Illusion, Allusion, and Paradigm. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 1986

Jack was recently interviewed for the Twin Cities cable access television show, TV Bookshelf.