Grimm Thoughts

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012012121720151005 (BBC7)
20151006 (BBC7)

Marina Warner introduces the Grimm brothers and examines the story of The Frog King.

When the Grimm brothers first published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, in a scholarly effort to collate a national identity of the people, it was the beginning of an obsessive project of two intricately interwoven lifetimes.

To mark the bicentenary of the first edition, writer and mythographer Marina Warner explores the many compelling and often controversial aspects of the tales in a 10-part series, revealing new insights into the stories we think we know so well, and introducing us to the charms and challenges of those that we don't.

Alongside beautifully narrated extracts from the tales themselves, renowned academics and artists who work closely with the Grimm's rich heritage add to our understanding of these deceptively complex stories.

In the opening episode, we are introduced to the Grimm brothers themselves and the context in which they collected these tales, in parallel with the story of The Frog King - a tale of transformation and sexual favour that has opened the collection since it was first published and has played a central role in the Romantic attraction to the tradition of Volkspoesie.

Producer: Kevin Dawson

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

022012121820151006 (BBC7)
20151007 (BBC7)

Marina Warner traces Grimms' tales back to their ancient origins.

When the Grimm brothers first published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, in a scholarly effort to collate a national identity of the people, it was the beginning of an obsessive project of two intricately interwoven lifetimes.

To mark the bicentenary of the first edition, writer and mythographer Marina Warner explores the many compelling and often controversial aspects of the tales in a 10-part series, revealing new insights into the stories we think we know so well, and introducing us to the charms and challenges of those that we don't.

Alongside beautifully narrated extracts from the tales themselves, renowned academics and artists who work closely with the Grimm's rich heritage add to our understanding of these deceptively complex stories.

In the second episode, Marina traces the tales right back to their ancient origins, hoping to answer the question of why we find parallels with the Grimms' stories in texts across cultures throughout time. Her search centres on Cinderella as she visits the tale's oldest known incarnation - an ancient Egyptian manuscript that tells the rags-to-riches story of the 'rosy-cheeked' Rhodopis and was a (perhaps fittingly) precious find, recovered from a rubbish dump.

Producer: Kevin Dawson

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

032012121920151007 (BBC7)
20151008 (BBC7)

Marina Warner enters the magical worlds of the fairy tale.

When the Grimm brothers first published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, in a scholarly effort to collate a national identity of the people, it was the beginning of an obsessive project of two intricately interwoven lifetimes.

To mark the bicentenary of the first edition, writer and mythographer Marina Warner explores the many compelling and often controversial aspects of the tales in a 10-part series, revealing new insights into the stories we think we know so well, and introducing us to the charms and challenges of those that we don't.

Alongside beautifully narrated extracts from the tales themselves, renowned academics and artists who work closely with the Grimm's rich heritage add to our understanding of these deceptively complex stories.

In the third episode we enter the magical worlds of the fairy tale, immersing ourselves in the spellbound transformations, landscapes and objects that have charmed generations. When magic rubs against the grain of reality and the impossible is naturalised, the stories' unique character comes alive.

Producer: Kevin Dawson

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

042012122020151008 (BBC7)
20151009 (BBC7)

Marina identifies real people and places believed to have inspired the Grimms' collection.

When the Grimm brothers first published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, in a scholarly effort to collate a national identity of the people, it was the beginning of an obsessive project of two intricately interwoven lifetimes.

To mark the bicentenary of the first edition, writer and mythographer Marina Warner explores the many compelling and often controversial aspects of the tales in a 10-part series, revealing new insights into the stories we think we know so well, and introducing us to the charms and challenges of those that we don't.

Alongside beautifully narrated extracts from the tales themselves, renowned academics and artists who work closely with the Grimm's rich heritage add to our understanding of these deceptively complex stories.

In the fourth episode, Marina tells the latent truth from the familiar fiction in the tales, identifying the real people and places that some believe to have inspired the Grimms brothers' collection. Was Bluebeard inspired by the real-life serial killer Giles de Rais, a 15th century French lord who served under Joan of Arc? Was Snow White based on truth? Leading academics discuss what these parallels tell us about the dormant human anxieties that transcend time and place.

Producer: Kevin Dawson

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

052012122120151009 (BBC7)
20151010 (BBC7)

Marina Warner is drawn into the tales' rich history of illustration.

When the Grimm brothers first published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, in a scholarly effort to collate a national identity of the people, it was the beginning of an obsessive project of two intricately interwoven lifetimes.

To mark the bicentenary of the first edition, writer and mythographer Marina Warner explores the many compelling and often controversial aspects of the tales in a 10-part series, revealing new insights into the stories we think we know so well, and introducing us to the charms and challenges of those that we don't.

Alongside beautifully narrated extracts from the tales themselves, renowned academics and artists who work closely with the Grimm's rich heritage add to our understanding of these deceptively complex stories.

In the fifth episode, we are drawn into the tales' rich history of illustration. These evocative stories have always stirred vivid images in the minds of artists, from the angular drawings of an early David Hockney to Dickens' Victorian illustrator George Cruikshank. Through these artists' impressions, we paint a new picture of the tales' vital contribution to the long tradition of visual storytelling.

Producer: Kevin Dawson

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

062012122420151012 (BBC7)
20151013 (BBC7)

Marina Warner probes the fate of the tales at the hands of the Nazis.

When the Grimm brothers first published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, in a scholarly effort to collate a national identity of the people, it was the beginning of an obsessive project of two intricately interwoven lifetimes.

To mark the bicentenary of the first edition, writer and mythographer Marina Warner explores the many compelling and often controversial aspects of the tales in a 10-part series, revealing new insights into the stories we think we know so well, and introducing us to the charms and challenges of those that we don't.

Alongside beautifully narrated extracts from the tales themselves, renowned academics and artists who work closely with the Grimm's rich heritage add to our understanding of these deceptively complex stories.

In the sixth episode, we learn how these tales which had been lovingly collected to preserve a sense of national identity, were adopted and retold by the Nazis for the purposes of their brutal propaganda machine.

The humour is stripped from The Boy Who Set Out to Learn Fear, Red Riding Hood's gallant rescuer is given a swastika armband, and the dark undercurrents to the morals we might once have innocently accepted become uncomfortably apparent. We also explore the tangled post-war effort to reclaim the Grimms' tales for a more positive purpose, featuring discussion of The Singing Ringing Tree, the East German film that thrilled the young and old of German and British audiences alike.

Producer: Kevin Dawson

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

0720121225

Marina examines the deeper meanings read into the tales by writers and psychologists.

When the Grimm brothers first published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, in a scholarly effort to collate a national identity of the people, it was the beginning of an obsessive project of two intricately interwoven lifetimes.

To mark the bicentenary of the first edition, writer and mythographer Marina Warner explores the many compelling and often controversial aspects of the tales in a 10-part series, revealing new insights into the stories we think we know so well, and introducing us to the charms and challenges of those that we don't.

Alongside beautifully narrated extracts from the tales themselves, renowned academics and artists who work closely with the Grimm's rich heritage add to our understanding of these deceptively complex stories.

Oedipal struggle in Cinderella; oral fixation in Hansel and Gretel; Little Red Riding Hood and attachment complex! Writers, psychologists and therapists have read deeper meanings into the Grimms' fairy tales. They have long been the subject of Freudian and Jungian interpretations and continue to be used by therapists and self-help authors today. In today's seventh episode of the series, we put the tales on the couch and discuss with psychoanalyst Susie Orbach their primal capacity to take on the unreal form of a dream.

Producer: Kevin Dawson

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

0820121226

Marina Warner explores the Grimm brothers' tales.

0920121227

When the Grimm brothers first published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, in a scholarly effort to collate a national identity of the people, it was the beginning of an obsessive project of two intricately interwoven lifetimes.

To mark the bicentenary of the first edition, writer and mythographer Marina Warner explores the many compelling and often controversial aspects of the tales in a 10-part series, revealing new insights into the stories we think we know so well, and introducing us to the charms and challenges of those that we don't.

Alongside beautifully narrated extracts from the tales themselves, renowned academics and artists who work closely with the Grimm's rich heritage add to our understanding of these deceptively complex stories.

In the ninth episode, we break the silence on the tales' history of censorship. Throughout their lifetime the collection's innocent veneer has had its blood, violence, and sexual overtones softened or removed altogether by successive editors, each reacting to the particular sensitivities of the day, and even to the Grimms themselves.

Even so the stories have found as many champions as censors, most notably J.R.R. Tolkien in his defence of The Juniper Tree's brutal depiction of murder. Why is it that although the details that prove controversial have changed over time - each one a telling insight into the temperament of a society - the tales' fundamental power to shock remains unchanged?

Producer: Kevin Dawson

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.

10 LAST20121228

When the Grimm brothers first published their Children's and Household Tales in 1812, in a scholarly effort to collate a national identity of the people, it was the beginning of an obsessive project of two intricately interwoven lifetimes.

To mark the bicentenary of the first edition, writer and mythographer Marina Warner explores the many compelling and often controversial aspects of the tales in a 10-part series, revealing new insights into the stories we think we know so well, and introducing us to the charms and challenges of those that we don't.

Alongside beautifully narrated extracts from the tales themselves, renowned academics and artists who work closely with the Grimm's rich heritage add to our understanding of these deceptively complex stories.

In the final episode, with fairy tales enjoying a renaissance across film and literature, we look to the future of these tales that have haunted our past and the fundamental appeal of storytelling.

Considering Hansel and Gretel, a universal story of the joys and dangers of youth and innocence, we speak to playwright Lucy Kirkwood about her brand new National Theatre adaptation of the tale, and explore what the many contemporary takes on the Grimms' legacy might tell us about the modern world.

Producer: Kevin Dawson

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.