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Author
Comment
janeyolen
Registered User
(7/18/07 6:58 am)


Snow White Seven Dwarfs and Cymbeline
At dinner with friends, we were discussing Cymbeline and we all remarked at the same time that it sounded a great deal like Shakespeare had known the story: wicked queen, jealous of stepdaughter, sends her hireling to kill the girl in the woods. But the man cannot do the deed, and girl runs off into the woods and finds a cave where two or three men (two of them her long exiled brothers, but she doesn't know that) live.

There is poison sent by the queen, changed by the apothocary into a sleeping potion, which the girl drinks.

But how could Shakespeare know this story? It hasn't been tracked back (at least by our gracious hostess and others) that far.

Help.

Jane

Heidi Anne Heiner
ezOP
(7/18/07 10:25 am)


Re: Snow White Seven Dwarfs and Cymbeline
Hmm, a quick perusal of some books this morning didn't help. I'm intrigued though. Basile's The Young Slave predates, but it doesn't have the Imogen elements.

What a wonderful question to start the morning, Jane!

Heidi

Erica Carlson
Registered User
(7/18/07 3:22 pm)


Re: Snow White Seven Dwarfs and Cymbeline
I imagine this is more intriguing than helpful, but here’s a snippet from an older review article that indicates that there may be some studied parallels between Cymbeline and Snow White:

“One of the first studies of Snow White is Karl Schenkl's 'Das Marchen von Sneewittchen und Shakespeare's Cymbeline,' published in Germania, 9 (1864), 458-460, which traces the parallels between that folktale and Shakespeare's play." (p. 69)

Quote source: Steven Jones. “The Pitfalls of Snow White Scholarship.” The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 92, No. 363. (Jan. - Mar., 1979): 69-73.

I don’t have access to Germania (or the ability to read German), but this sort of clue makes me wish that I did.

MaryCatelli
Registered User
(7/18/07 7:58 pm)


Re: Snow White Seven Dwarfs and Cymbeline
I've heard allusions in Shakespeare cited as evidence that fairy tales are older than their first recorded forms. Not Cymbeline and Snow White, actually, but King Lear and fairy tales like Cap O' Rushes, yes.

InkGypsy
Registered User
(7/18/07 8:31 pm)


Re: Snow White Seven Dwarfs and Cymbeline
This site here lists Shakespeare's sources for Cymbeline, including The Decameron. Though it seems unlikely that all the similar elements in Snow White and Cymbeline would come from this one text it would still be an interesting connection if it turned out the Grimm Brothers (or the Hassenpflug sisters) had studied it. Is anybody aware of such a connection?

MaryCatelli
Registered User
(7/19/07 5:50 pm)


Re: Snow White Seven Dwarfs and Cymbeline
G. Ronald Murphy's The Owl, The Raven, and the Dove has a large section on Snow White where he talks about variants. It's particularly interesting because he's interested in what the Grimms were doing, as authors.

He mentions an old Norse -- analogue. Which, in fact, inverts the tale we all know and love: the woman really is dead, and her husband has to be persuade to bury the body.

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