Sugar-Coated Fairy Tales and the Contemporary Cultures of Consumption

Authored by: Natalia Andrievskikh

The Routledge Companion to Media and Fairy-Tale Cultures

Print publication date:  April  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138946156
eBook ISBN: 9781315670997
Adobe ISBN:


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From the witch’s infamous gingerbread residence in “Hansel and Gretel” (ATU 327A) to the poisonous apple that brought Snow White’s demise, fairy tales abound with all things edible. While the emphasis on food in many traditional stories was influenced by poverty and hunger, with wishful thinking shaping the motif of replenishable foods, today’s popular imagination often construes fairy-tale foods as festive and sumptuous. Contemporary cultures of consumption, focused on pleasure and immediate gratification, explain our fascination with imagery of food as magic. In addition to literal meanings of hunger and satisfaction, consumption in fairy tales often symbolizes negotiation of authority, and appetite for food stands for desire of power and control. Fairy-tale cultures of today continue to reimagine food-related themes, be that decadent magic feasts or gruesome flesh-eating monsters.

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