New Grimms’ article by Jack Zipes available here

A Christmas bonus for this Grimm Year! Please find attached here an article by Professor Jack Zipes entitled “The Forgotten Tales of the Brothers Grimm”, published in The Public Domain Review. We are very fortunate to have his fascinating piece, partly as the result of “insider dealing”! Jack Zipes is of course on the Sussex Centre Advisory Board, and one of the editors of The Public Domain Review is Jonathan Gray, Project Advisor and Technical Coordinator of the Sussex Centre. Enjoy this early present!

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Issue 2 of Gramarye out now

Issue 2 of Gramarye is now available to buy here. This issue is a special illustrated edition featuring work by Brian Froud, Alan Lee, Mel Grant, Arthur Rackham, Adelaide Claxton, Margaret Jones, Edmund Dulac and many more. This issue’s contents are as follows:

• ‘To tell or not to tell: are fairy tales suitable for children?’, Nicholas Tucker and Jacqueline Simpson continue their BBC Radio 4 debate;

• ‘A review of Brian Froud’s work’, Anne Anderson, curator of Froud/Lee exhibit ‘The Truth About Faeries’;

• An interview with Brian Froud and a preview of his latest work, Trolls;

• ‘Gwyn ap Nudd: Transfigurations of a Character on the way from Medieval Literature to Neo-Pagan Beliefs’, Angelika H. Rüdiger;

• ‘Count Stoneheart and the First Christmas Tree’, a retelling of a traditional tale by best-selling fantasy author Kate Forsyth;

• ‘My Favourite Story when I was young’, Martine Hennard Dutheil de la Rochère;

• ‘Herne’, Steve O’Brien;

• A review of Alan Cunningham’s Traditional Tales (ed Killick), Sophia Kingshill;

• A review of Jan Susina’s The Place of Lewis Carroll in Children’s Literature, Colin Manlove;

• A review of Giselle Liza Anatol’s Bringing Light to Twilight: Perspectives on the Pop Culture Phenomenon, Malini Roy;

• A review of Stephen Asma’s On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears, Miles Leeson.

Subscribing A two-year subscription will shortly be available – please do let us know if you would be interested in this.

You can also purchase Gramarye from:


Kim’s Bookshop, Chichester

Atlantis, London

Precinct Books, Haying Island

Way Out There And Back, Littlehampton

Lunartique, Bristol

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‘Old, New, Borrowed and Blue: A Fairy-Tale Symposium

ON TUESDAY 26 March, Jack Zipes, Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota and founding father of the academic discipline of Fairy Tale studies, will give a lecture at the University of Chichester. He’ll be preceded by talks by children’s literature expert Nick Tucker and by Jacqueline Simpson, Visiting Professor of Folklore at the University of Chichester. This fairy tale symposium will run as follows

3 p.m. Jacqueline Simpson: ‘Terry Pratchett: Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men’

4.15 p.m. Nicholas Tucker: ‘Grimm Parents’

6 p.m. Jack Zipes: ‘Once Upon a Time: Changing the World through Storytelling’.

Tuesday 26 March Bishop Otter Campus, University of Chichester, College Lane, Chichester PO19 6PE More details to follow; if you have any queries please contact Heather Robbins at

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Marina Warner talk in Lausanne

Prof Marina Warner of Essex University is giving a talk in Lausanne entitled “Magicking reality in contemporary fiction in English”. For details see here

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Robert Louis Stevenson Day: 13 November

Robert Louis Stevenson Day will be celebrated for the first time on 13 November (Stevenson’s birthday). As part of the celebrations the Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS) based at the University of Glasgow will be printing copies of Stevenson’s Fables with an Introduction by Professor Bill Gray of Chichester University’s Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy. This special edition of Stevenson’s Fables is for distribution at the annual convention of the Modern Language Association, America’s foremost professional association for the study of language and literature. ASLS will also be making an ebook version of this edition of Stevenson’s Fables available free online from RLS Day. Fables

Stevenson had a life-long interest in fables. His books and correspondence show that the fables of Aesop and La Fontaine were part of his mental furniture. One of his earliest published pieces was about fables, a review of Robert Bulwer-Lytton’s Fables in Song. This probably first prompted the twenty-three year old Stevenson to start writing his own fables. Stevenson worked intermittently throughout his life on his own collection of fables, which was published only posthumously and in an incomplete form. In 1888, five years before his death, Stevenson had signed a contract with Longman for an edition to be called The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, with other fables. However, this was left incomplete at Stevenson’s death in 1894, and was posthumously published in 1896. This is the edition of Stevenson’s Fables that ASLS is making freely available as an ebook on RLS Day.

Prof. Bill Gray is currently preparing a new edition of Stevenson’s Fables for publication next year, as part of Edinburgh University Press’s New Edinburgh Edition of the Collected Works of Robert Louis Stevenson. Bill commented: ‘This new edition of Stevenson’s works is a hugely ambitious project, which intends to provide the definitive version of Stevenson’s works, and will probably run to around forty volumes. I’m delighted to have secured the editorship of volume 18, Stevenson’s Fables and Fairy Tales. In this volume I’ll be working mostly from original manuscripts, so that the text of my edition will be the most accurate version since 1896. Besides some extra fables, there are quite a few fascinating new readings which shed fresh light on Stevenson’s text.’

He continued: ‘Having said that, the 1896 edition, though by no means complete and perfect, has delighted readers for 117 years, so the free ebook version available on 13 November is certainly worth having. Stevenson’s Fables are irreverent, quirky and pungent. Some of them are very short and pithy; others are longer stories, and appropriately included in a volume with Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. They are haunting, thought-provoking and superbly written.’

He quipped: ‘Until the paperback version of the New Edinburgh Edition version of Stevenson’s Fables and Fairy Tales is available in a year or two, this version is the one to have. Perfect bedtime reading on dark November nights!’

Not only will the free ebook of the Fables be available on 13 November, Robert Louis Stevenson Day will also be celebrated by special project organized by the ASLA:

‘”The first ever Robert Louis Stevenson Day will take place on 13 November, and the Association for Scottish Literary Studies would like to invite you to join the celebrations by snapping some Stevensonia photos and posting them on our Facebook page for everyone to enjoy – use the link below. Anything related to Stevenson is fair game – sights that could be from one of his books, essays, short stories or poems, places you think he might like, or particular items that remind you of his life and work. Stevenson’s literature was international – we welcome photos taken anywhere in the world! Just be sure to describe or tag the photo so we know what your idea is. You can post photos directly from your phone or camera, or via Instagram or other editing apps, and upload as many as you like. The project will run until Stevenson Day on November 13th, so you can start posting any time!”

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Launch of new Sussex Centre journal Gramarye

Launch of new Sussex Centre journal, Gramarye.

Tuesday (29 May) at 5.15pm in Cloisters, Bishop Otter Campus, University of Chichester. There will be readings by Steve O’Brien (Editor of the London Magazine, poet and Creative Writing  Fellow at Chichester University) of new versions of British and Danish folktales. Prof. Bill Gray will also give a short talk about the history of the word gramarye. Entrance free. Copies of Gramarye on sale (£5).

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Sussex Centre Newsletter, March/April 2012

The March/April Sussex Centre Newsletter is now online.

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An Extraordinary New Find? Jack Zipes on the 500 New Fairy Tales

There has been considerable media attention given to the discovery of new folktales by German scholar Franz Xaver von Schönwerth. A selection of Schönwerth’s folktales has been published in German under the title of Prinz Roßwifl (‘Roßwifl’ is a local dialect word for scarab or dung beetle!). One example, ‘The Turnip Princess’, was recently republished in The Guardian. While great claims have been for the value of this new collection of tales, fairy-tale expert and Sussex Centre Advisory Board Member Professor Jack Zipes urges caution. In a piece he has generously sent to the Sussex Centre with permission to publish, Professor Zipes gives a caveat against overestimating the importance of von Schönwerth’s work.

Professor Bill Gray

Director, Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy

10th March 2012

Note on the 500 New Fairy Tales, by Jack Zipes

Franz Xaver von Schönwerth published three volumes of tales titled Aus der Oberpfalz — Sitten und Sagen in 1857, 1858, and 1859. The title in English is: From Oberpfalz — Customs and Legends. Oberpfalz is the northeast region of Bavaria, and Schönwerth, a historian, did an admirable job of combining long historical reports about customs in this region with legends, folk tales, anecdotes, fairy tales, etc. Schönwerth did not single out wonder folk tales or fairy tales in these three volumes.

In discussing Prinz Roßwifl, the new collection of Schönwerth’s folktales, with the journalist Victoria Sussens-Messerer, it appears that Erika Eichenseer, the editor of this volume, has culled the fairy tales or wonder folk tales from manuscripts that she found in some 30 odd boxes in Schönwerth’s archives. I have only read Schönwerth’s tales from the earlier three volumes, and they range from boring to good examples of Bavarian customs. Nothing to get excited about, just as there is nothing to get excited about in the more recent example provided in The Guardian. Thus far, I have yet to read the tales in Prinz Roßwifl, but I have ordered them and am looking forward to do this.

I am presently working on an anthology of 19th-century European folk tales, and there are literally fifty or sixty collections that are more interesting than Schönwerth’s early collection, Aus der Oberpfalz — Sitten und Sagen, one reason why Schönwerth’s tales have not been studied or collected in the twentieth century. On the other hand I can point to some brilliant German collections by Theodor Vernaleken, Johann Wilhelm Wolf, Ignaz and Joseph Zingerele, Heinrich Pröhle, Josef Haltrich, Christian Schneller, Karl Haupt, Hermann Knust, Carl and Theodor Colshorn, etc. etc. and even more brilliant French collections by François-Marie Luzel, Paul Sébillot, Emmanuel Cosquin, Jean-François Bladé, Henry Carnoy, etc. etc. that contain tales fastidiously recorded by these folklorists, who translated them from dialect versions. They also include raw dialect versions with their translations. You can also see this in my and Joseph Russo’s translation of Giuseppe Pitrè’s Sicilian tales, The Collected Sicilian Folk and Fairy Tales of Giuseppe Pitrè (2008). Pitrè’s tales are also raw like Schoenwerth’s, but more fascinating because his ear was better and he wrote them down in dialect. Indeed, we have not yet translated the best European folk-tale collections into English and given them their due recognition, and I would not put Schönwerth’s tales at the top of my list of collections that need more study. We must ask what the significance of Schönwerth’s collection is within the development of oral folk tales during the nineteenth century, and it is too early to do this, whereas some of the other collections are clearly important for understanding how and why the tales were disseminated.

There is also the question of artistic value. Many of the European folklorists like the Grimms, had a great artistic sensibility. The artistic power of the Grimms’ tales and other collections can be experienced when they are read aloud. I believe that the best folklorists always had to “translate” and “adapt” the tales they collected, and they did this while trying to remain true to the spoken word. So, you can praise Schönwerth’s “raw” tales, but those that I have read thus far lack an important element of artistic re-creation. To varying degrees, the best 19th-century European folklorists shaped the raw quality of the takes to make them more effective in print. They also provided notes and provided dialect versions side-by-side with their raw translated versions in high German, French, Italian, etc. The general public is not aware that Schönwerth’s work was just a drop in the bucket of folk-tale collecting in Europe during the nineteenth century. It may turn out that this drop may taste better than other collections. For the time being, it is important to be cautious before we celebrate Schönwerth’s fairy tales and make more out of his work than he himself did.

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Sussex Centre Newsletter, February 2012

The first Sussex Centre Newsletter is now online. You can download it here.

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New Sussex Centre Assistant Appointed

The Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy has appointed an administrator to replace Dr Jane Carroll who has returned to teach at her alma mater, Trinity College Dublin, now that her contract has expired. Many thanks to Jane for her contributions to the Centre, especially for organizing the highly successful Mervyn Peake Conference.

I’m delighted to announce that we have appointed Heather Robbins as Sussex Centre Assistant, after interviewing a rather long ‘short list’ of excellent candidates, such was the depth and calibre of the response to the job advertisement. Heather’s enthusiasm for folklore, fairy tales and fantasy, and her commitment to the Sussex Centre, were palpable; that, together with her experience in the publishing world, led us after much deliberation to offer the post to her. Heather has a Master of Modern Languages (French and German) from the University of Manchester, and was for some years Commissioning Editor and Head of Sales for the publisher Phillimore & Co. We are delighted to welcome Heather on board and look forward to her working on a range of projects, including two conferences and the Sussex Centre journal GRAMARYE, whose publication has been delayed. Many thanks to the other candidates for their time and their interest in the Sussex Centre; as I told each of them, the interview panel had an embarrassment of riches!

Bill Gray, Director, Sussex Centre

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After Grimm: Fairy Tales and the Art of Story Telling Conference 2012

6th – 8th SEPTEMBER 2012, Kingston University After Grimm Conference


2012 is the bicentenary of the publication of the first volume of the Kinder- und Hausmärchen [Children’s and Household Tales] by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. As this groundbreaking collection moves into its third century, this conference explores the trajectory of the Grimm phenomenon in Britain and the English-speaking world. Examining the varied and colourful reception history of this collection of tales, this conference will discuss the most recent fairy-tale scholarship, as well as looking forward to possible future developments. The Grimm bicentenary will also be celebrated through story-telling events, readings, a creative writing prize, and an exhibition of illustrations.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers: Professor Donald Haase, Neil Philip, Professor Marina Warner and Professor Jack Zipes

Previously this conference was billed as two distinct events. Now Kingston University and the Sussex Centre for Folklore Fairy Tales and Fantasy at the University of Chichester are delighted to announce that they will be collaborating on a single event. Proposals for conference papers are invited on any aspect of fairy tale and storytelling over the last two-hundred years, but particularly in the following subjects:

The Oral Tradition within Grimms’ Tales

The literary origins of the Grimms’ ‘folktales’

Translations of Grimms’ tales into English

The influence of Grimm upon British collectors of fairy tales

The impact of Grimms’ tales upon world literatures in English

Uses of Grimms’ tales in English-language visual media

Grimms’ tales and Romanticism

Grimms’ tales in Victorian Britain

Grimms’ tales in colonial and post-colonial contexts

Illustrations and art works relating to Grimms’ tales

Grimms’ tales in the electronic age

Memes, Tropes and Unchanging Elements

Telling Stories with Pictures

Songs as Stories

Reading Aloud

Performing Grimm

Packaging Grimm (illustrations, book covers, merchandising etc)

Fairy tales in (popular) culture

Retellings, Revisions and Reworkings

Adapting to New Audiences

New Fairy Tales a Fairy Tales on Stage and on Screen

Gossip, Slander, Rumour and News

This multi-disciplinary conference will welcome contributions from any disciplinary perspective including proposals to read creative work, screen films, mount performances and exhibit visual work.


Please submit an abstract of approximately 300 words, and a brief contributor’s bio online at:

DEADLINE: January 31 2012.


Prof Bill Gray (Sussex Centre for Folklore Fairy Tales and Fantasy, University of Chichester) e:

Dr Andrew Teverson (Kingston University) e:

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South Downs Song Project

The South Downs Songs Project

Leading the project are Chris Hare, his wife Ann, and Emily Longhurst – together they are Emily and the Hares. Chris is a professional historian, with a specialist knowledge of the South Downs. He has been singing the songs for over 30 years and in recent years has been joined by Ann and Emily. The workshops, which will take place once a month, are free. However, it is important that participants attend all six dates. The workshops will explore different themes e.g. love, work, drinking, celebrations, Christmas and newsworthy events. Chris will be setting the songs in their historical context and will be joined, from time to time, by guest speakers on the different themes. The writings of Arthur Beckett, founding president of the Society of Sussex Downsmen, will form a key part of the course, along with other South Downs writers, such as Rudyard Kipling, Hilaire Belloc and Margaret Fairless-Barber. At the end of each series of workshops, we aim to put on a performance of the songs to friends and family and to record a cd of the songs. The project will continue the centuries-old, oral tradition of unaccompanied singing that was so important to past generations so that these beautiful, rousing and joyful songs are kept alive for future generations.

Free Workshops The workshops will take place at the following venues in Chichester and Lewes on the following dates in 2011/ 2012. For further details about enrolling, please email Chris Hare at [copying in] or call Chris on 07794 600639.

The Cloisters, University of Chichester

Sat 1 October 10.30–16.30

Sat 5 November 10.30–16.30

Sat 3 December 10.30–16.30

Sat 7 January 10.30–16.30

Sat 4 February 10.30–16.30

Sat 3 March 10.30–16.30

Lewes Arms, Lewes

Sat 15 October 10.30–16.30

Sat 19 November 10.30–16.30

Sat 17 December 10.30–16.30

Sat 21 January 10.30–16.30

Sat 18 February 10.30–16.30

Sat 17 March 10.30–16.30

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Folklore and Fantasy Conference 2012

The Folklore Society and the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy are delighted to announce a joint conference on “Folklore and Fantasy” at the University of Chichester on Friday 13th to Sunday 15th April 2012.


Deadline 27 January 2012

Many folktales are closely related to the fantastic – through subject matter, content and impulse. Folklore often deals with the fantastic, or turns to the supernatural to provide explanations for extraordinary events. Similarly, folklore has long been a major source of inspiration for fantasy literature, from authors like Kevin Crossley-Holland and Angela Carter and graphic novelists like Neil Gaiman and Bill Willingham who take on and re-present traditional stories, to authors like Lloyd Alexander Susan Cooper, Kate Thompson who draw on established tropes, to authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien, Susanna Clarke and Terry Pratchett who invent their own folk traditions. This three-day conference will explore, investigate and celebrate the relationship between folklore and fantasy. We welcome papers on all aspects of folklore and fantasy from the medieval to the modern and the post-modern. Topics may include but are not limited to:

Folklore of the fantastic

Invented Folklore in Epic Fantasy

Graphic novels

Urban Legends


The Gothic Tradition

Monsters, Bogies and Boggarts

Real and invented folk history

Medieval and Modern Travellers’ Tales

Folklore in Children’s Literature

World Folklore in American Fantasy

Celtic folklore in Popular Culture

Folklore on the Stage or on the Screen

The Commodification and ‘Disneyfication’ of Traditional Stories

Folklore in Art

Abstracts of 250 words for 20-minute papers should be sent by 27 January 2012 to and to

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Mapping researchers and organisations interested in folktales, fairy tales and fantasy

The Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy is currently trying to map researchers, research centres and academic deparments with an interest in folktales, fairy tales and fantasy. In the longer term we’d like to build a stronger network of researchers and organisations in these fields to involve in events, projects and research activities.

If you or your organisation are potentially interested in collaborating with the Centre, or you’d like to nominate another individual or organisation that we should contact – we’d be grateful if you could fill in our short form!

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Jacqueline Simpson appointed Visiting Professor at Chichester

Dr Jacqueline Simpson (see under ‘People’), formerly President of the Folklore Society and editor of its journal Folklore, has been appointed Visiting Professor at the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy, University of Chichester. Professor Simpson’s inaugural lecture will be in October, on a date to be announced.

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