Jerome Siegel Alvin Schwartz - Essay

Alvin Schwartz

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Before the scientific hypothesis came along with its dependence on stored data and libraries and a written language, we structured the truths of our world in both physical and psychological terms by means of myths, legends, and fairy tales. The transmission of these fictional forms from one generation to the next was by word of mouth…. But when we examine the collected and printed forms of our oral tradition, we note how much of it, fairy tales in particular, has been relegated to the role of children's literature…. The fact is, of course, that fairy tales were never originally intended for children. But with universal literacy, children are the only ones left among whom the oral transmission of culture is still...

(The entire section is 1870 words.)