SurLaLune Header Logo

This is an archived string from the
SurLaLune Fairy Tales Discussion Board.

Back to March 2007 Archives Table of Contents

Return to Board Archives Main Page

Visit the Current Discussions on Yuku

Visit the SurLaLune Fairy Tales Main Page

Author
Comment
elana
Registered User
(3/19/07 11:52 pm)


Godfather Death
Hello again. I'm still working on my senior thesis and was wondering if any of you knew any scholarship that's been done relating to the Grimm fairy tale "Godfather Death." I've searched high and low and can't seem to find anything pertaining to that particular story, except for one random website (which was quite interesting) and Maria Tatar's annotations.

I'm interested in anything related to personifications of death in fairy tales, really, or permutations of this particular story (where it came from, various "takes" on it, etc.), and (especially) filmic adaptations of the story. I've checked out "Macario," which is a Mexican retelling of the Grimm tale (based on a short story by B. Traven), and I find this film fascinating. I also checked out "Destiny" by Fritz Lang, though I'm not sure how much/if I can relate it to the Grimm story (the fact that it contains a personification of death and a "candle" scene, where Death represents all the life in the world with candles, seems a somewhat dubious connection to me, though any input into this would be welcome :) . Also, an identical scene can be found in Macario).

While we're on the subject, does anybody know if candles are a common motif in fairy tales to represent death and life? I have no idea where to look for any of this information. I'm having trouble even finding information on the role of death in fairy tales, let alone personifications of death or Death in this particular story.

So, as you can tell, I'm rather desperate. Any help would be MUCH appreciated.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this! (And hopefully respond to it!)
Elana

RoseRed81
Registered User
(3/20/07 7:24 am)


hmm...
I don't have much for you as far as scholarship goes, but I did just finish reading Anne Sexton's version of Godfather Death, which is interesting and applicable to your situation. Even though it isn't a variant of the original story, it's still worth a look - at the very least it's applicable to your subject.

As far as candles representing life/death - what about something simpler, like a flame? The Little Match Girl story comes to mind, though it's more of a physical thing - the warmth from the flame versus the freezing cold - but in literature there is the common motif of someone's flame of life going out, death is referred to as life 'extinguished.'

Heidi Anne Heiner
ezOP
(3/20/07 9:12 am)


Re: Godfather Death
Umm, don't think me crazy, but since so many people find the board but not the actual SurLaLune site when using Google, I'm hoping you have visited SurLaLune's Annotated Godfather Death. The annotations start with the Grimms' notes for the tale. The area also features Similar Tales Across Cultures and Modern Interpretations.

Terri Windling also has an excellent article about death in fairy tales: Godfather Death: Death in Fairy Tales by Terri Windling. Don't miss Aging and Death in Folklore by D. L. Ashliman either.

Also, it's not a Godfather Death tale, but Tom Davenport has a great film production of Soldier Jack: The Man Who Caught Death in a Sack. It's one of my personal favorites of Davenport's films.

Heidi

Edited by: Heidi Anne Heiner at: 3/20/07 9:23 am
Heidi Anne Heiner
ezOP
(3/20/07 9:32 am)


Re: Godfather Death
Also, here's the original board discussion archive from when Terri was researching her article:

www.surlalunefairytales.com/boardarchives/2001/feb2001/godfather_death_page1.html

Heidi

Heidi Anne Heiner
ezOP
(3/20/07 9:58 am)


Re: Godfather Death
You might also look into Parabola's special issue on Dying.

Heidi

Heidi Anne Heiner
ezOP
(3/20/07 10:27 am)


Re: Godfather Death
Me again.

My husband saw me writing my answers and remembered several episodes of Twilight Zone using folkloric representations of death, such as the candles. I don't have episode names, but here's what appears to be a decent episode guide to the series: The Original Twilight Zone Episode Guide.

SurLaLune Logo

amazon logo with link

This is an archived string from the
SurLaLune Fairy Tales Discussion Board.

©2008 SurLaLune Fairy Tale Pages

Back to March 2007 Archives Table of Contents

Return to Board Archives Main Page

Visit the Current Discussions on Yuku

Visit the SurLaLune Fairy Tales Main Page