Satu Apo


The question of the relationship between oral and literary fairy-tale traditions is linked to a number of theoretical discussions in the study of folklore--for example, the origin of the genre, the history of particular tales, and the authenticity of folklore. These questions have also been addressed from cultural historical perspectives, analyzing the contexts in which fairy tales became literary works in different centuries. What is more, the ethnography of reading and writing has raised some new questions about how folk narrators gained access to written fairy tales and the extent of literacy in different European countries in the nineteenth century, when the great majority of tales were recorded. To judge from existing Finnish folktale collections, there have been several types of narrators: oral and illiterate; narrators who could read but who performed their tales orally; and narrators who were able to re-create their favorite fairy tales in writing. The author examines these questions using Finnish folktale versions of “Beauty and the Beast.”