My Photo

Categories

Blog powered by Typepad

« Untitled poem ('Roses on the brier'), by Christina Rossetti | Main | Our Lady’s Child »

Monday, 10 September 2012

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Desperate Reader

Makes me wonder, is this where the idea/image of fat cats came from?

Helen

Heh, could be? Or have you ever come across the Danish folk-tale of the Fat Cat? We had a picture book, by Jack Kent, of the story which I enjoyed very much as a child. The Fat Cat starts by scoffing his mistress's gruel, then devours her and everyone who crosses his path. I think a woodcutter chops him open, everyone jumps out and they sew him back up again. Good wholesome fun.

bibliolathas

Such an interesting post. I love that mouse in the air picture too - had a postcard of it on my desk for ages!

Helen

Thank you bibliolathas (sorry, not sure what to call you!), that is kind.

It's a great picture, isn't it? Impossible to have a bad day with that on your desk...

litlove

Another brilliant post - you are so good at these, Helen! And oh how I love that picture. I think I need to look at that every day. But also so many interesting questions that the tale raises about what the moral of the story could be. I was also fascinated to hear of the recurring 'motifs' as they go on to structure the novella at the end of the 19th century, which for a while was a hugely popular genre. But in the novella, the motif is used like a symptom in psychoanalysis, an overdetermined element that crops up again and again as the hitch in the tale where the trouble/meaning is buried.

Catie

Hi! I have just found your blog, but just wanted to say that this sounds like a fantastic project and great inspiration to read some more Grimm along with your posts.

Bellezza

You've brought so much into what I considered simply a tale. I think it's so true that the stories portray a motif, perhaps as some would say the Old Testament stories of the Bible do. The truth is in their meaning, not each literal word. Also, how interesting that the lard is laid at an altar of sorts; by drawing in the place where holy communion is served there must be an implication in there somewhere. Now, where it lies, in reward or cleansing, I'm not certain...

Helen

Hello to you all, I am so sorry for not replying earlier. I've just started following my teacher-training course - it's all in Dutch and after four days I think my head is going to explode! It's the strangest experience because I can only grasp what's happening in very broad terms, it's like being in a glass bottle or something. Enormously stressful but probably amazingly good for my character...

litlove, I came back and looked at that picture on Wednesday evening after delivering possibly the worst English lesson ever given in the history of humanity, and it made me laugh. I REALLY wish I knew who had taken it! I am fascinated by what you write about the development of the novella. I'd love it if you wrote more about it, perhaps a post hint hint... And then of course the fairy tales themselves go on to be used as motifs and even plot structures in later novels; it's all very rich.

Catie, thank you for your lovely comment and welcome! It would be great if you joined in! I've visited your blog very briefly but enjoyed it very much and will comment soon.

Thank you Bellezza, and you know I think that a comparison with the Old Testament stories is an excellent one. The stories have that same feel of being utterly stripped down to the narrative and thus able to offer so much in terms of interpretation. And the being stripped down can add mystery too. I'm still stuck about the altar, which is described as a church altar. But perhaps there's some sort of echo there of an altar to the lares (or penares? My Latin was always pants), the household gods. The cat's eating of the lard underlines her abuse of the household she's set up with the mouse? But it's very tenuous.

claire

Hi Helen! Thanks for dropping by my blog. This is my first time visiting here and am ecstatic over how wonderful your blog is! I'm already a fan. I'll be back and take the time to read everything! :D

Helen

Dear Claire, oh thank you, what a lovely thing to write! I am so glad we've found each other!

Stefanie

What an interesting tale I had never heard before! And you ask such good questions about how we are supposed to interpret the "moral." It's very ambiguous. I love the last photo! Oh that made me laugh :)

Helen

Thanks Stefanie! It is an interesting tale - but all of them have been so far. I'm getting a lot more out of them than I expected to.

The comments to this entry are closed.