GER20190 Grimms' Tales and Adaptations

Academic Year 2020/2021

The two volumes of Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm’s Kinder- und Hausmärchen were first published in 1812 and 1815. In the volumes, the brothers Grimm had collated more than 150 fairy tales, many of which were to become familiar stories in households all over the world over the next 100 years. Extended and revised by the Grimms themselves, translated into many languages, adapted and rewritten for stage and screen, parodied and modernised, tales like those of Hänsel and Gretel, Rotkäppchen, Schneewittchen and Dornröschen are probably known to millions of children and adults. However, even German speakers will today most likely not come into contact with the original Grimm tales (which, in themselves, were already a collation and adaptation of different sources) but with some abbreviated, adapted or disneyfied versions.
The module introduces students to the theoretical concept of adaptation. Using selected examples, we will examine the Grimm fairy tales and their afterlife, looking at the tales as adaptation of pre-existing and often orally transmitted sources, at aspects of their editorial history and rewriting in Germany and at some examples of translations into English as well as their ‘Disneyfication’. The module is also aimed at helping students to develop their their close reading and analytical skills.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

Identify and describe some basic features of the fairy tale genre
Set the Grimms fairy tales into their historical context
Demonstrate a basic understanding of the concept of adaptation
Discuss different forms of adaptation, such a different editions, translations, films and literary adaptations
Engage in close analysis to interpret aspects of different forms of adaptation of selected fairy tales
Research, organise and structure an argument engaging with a self-selected fairy tale adaptation using an appropriate academic register
Demonstrate ongoing personal engagement with module content

Indicative Module Content:

Generic features of fairy tales
History of the genre of the fairy tale
Historical background of the Brother Grimm
Editorial history of the Grimms' Kinder- und Hausmärchen
Translation as Adaptation
English translations of the Grimms' Kinder- und Hausmärchen
Opera as adaptation of Hänsel und Gretel
Disneyfication of the Grimms' Kinder- und Hausmärchen

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning


Seminar (or Webinar)




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
For the academic year 2020/21, this module will be delivered predominantly online, with students participating in two weekly scheduled interactive classes. The times for these virtual classes will show up in students' timetables and active participation is required. Lectures will be made available on Brightspace and students participate in class discussions or group work via the virtual classroom or via the discussion board, practicing their critical and analytical skills. Directed homework tasks prompt independent learning and journal activities provide the opportunity of individual engagement with particular aspects of the module. The end-of-trimester assignment teaches students to develop their own research topic and trains critical writing skills.
Consultation hours with the module coordinator will be offered both face-to-face and online. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Requirements:

Students must be able to read literary texts in German.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Journal: Regular online engagement with questions emerging from lectures or class discussions Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Assignment: Assignment to be set in week 11: Commentary on a specific aspect of a self-selected adaptation (1500 words) Week 12 n/a Graded No


Class Test: The online class test contains factual questions on the genre of the fairy tale, the historical background of the Grimms brothers and their 'Kinder- und Hausmärchen' and the genre of adaptation. Week 5 n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, on an activity or draft prior to summative assessment
• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

For the in-class test, there will feedback for the group in class post assessment, pointing out common mistakes and providing points that should have been included. For the journal entries, feedback will be provided individually at certain times through the trimester.

Name Role
Dr Siobhan Donovan Lecturer / Co-Lecturer