The following is an eclectic timeline of events which illustrate the enduring popularity of fairy tales. I have included literature, films, operas, ballets, television, and significant academic publications. I admit the timeline is biased towards the United States in the last century, especially in film and television, but it is the area I know best.
Also see Laura Kready's time line in Chapter 4 of her book, A Study of Fairy Tales from 1916.
The myth, Cupid and Psyche, is written by Apuleius and included in his Metamorphoses (also known as The Golden Ass). Some scholars consider this to be the first literary fairy tale, very similar in nature to Beauty and the Beast.
A Hindu collection of tales, the Panchatantra, is written. Some of these tales are thought to be forerunners to a few European fairy tales.
The first known literary version of Cinderella in the world is written in China.
Gesta Romanorum, a Latin work, is produced. It is a collection of tales and anecdotes thought to have influenced William Shakespeare and Edmund Spenser, author of The Faerie Queen.
One Thousand and One Arabian Nights is first recorded.
1550 & 1553
Gianfrancesco Straparola publishes in two volumes, Le Piacevoli Nottior The Pleasant Nights, also known as The Facetious Nights and The Delightful Nights. The first volume appeared in France as early as 1560 and the second in 1573.
Giambattista Basile writes Il Pentamerone, also known as Lo cunto de le cunti (The Tale of Tales). It is written in the hard-to-translate Neapolitan dialect. Volumes 1-3 appear in 1634, followed by volume 4 in 1635 and volume 5 in 1636. They were published posthumously since Basile died in 1632. Due to the obscure dialect, they were not translated into Italian until 1747, German in 1846, and English in 1848, essentially removing them from influence upon the oral tradition until then.
The French Salons are filled with fairy tale writing, primarily by women writers. The most prolific and influential are Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy and Charles Perrault.
Marie-Catherine D'Aulnoy, the foremost fairy tale author of the French Salons, publishes four volumes of fairy tales. They are translated into English in 1699.
Charles Perrault's Histoires ou Contes du temps passe, also known asMother Goose Tales, is published in Paris. The tales enjoy instant success. Some of the tales included in this collection are Cinderella, The Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Bluebeard, and Puss in Boots.
Robert Samber translates into English and publishes Perrault's Histories, or Tales of Times Past. They are a hit and become some of the most popular fairy tales of all time.
Madame Gabrielle de Villeneuve writes the original novella length version of Beauty and the Beast which appears in La jeune ameriquaine, et les contes marins. This version is not intended for children with its many storylines, length, and subject matter.
Madame Le Prince de Beaumont publishes her own considerably shorter version of Beauty and the Beast. This version is the best well-known and most used as the basis for later interpretations of the tale. It is written for a young audience, with didactic messages and a simpler storyline. This is the first example of a literary fairy tale being written specifically for children.
1812 & 1815
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm publish volumes one (1812) and two (1815) of Kinder und Hausmarchen (Childhood and Household Tales). Popular tales from the collection include The Frog King, Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Editor Edgar Taylor publishes the first English translation by his brother Edward Taylor of the Grimms' tales in German Popular Stories. The book is illustrated by George Cruikshank.
Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales Told for Children is published. Many of the tales are original stories, but a few are based on traditional folklore, including The Wild Swans and The Princess on the Pea.
Norwegian Folk Tales, collected by Peter Christen Asbjornsen and Jorgen Moe is published in 1845. The collection becomes exceptionally popular after the second edition appears in 1852. The first illustrated edition, featuring the work of Erik Werenskiold and Theodor Kittelsen, appears in 1879. Two of the most famous tales from this collection are East of the Sun and West of the Moon and The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
The first English translation by Edward Taylor of Giambattista Basile's Il Pentamerone is published. The illustrations are by George Cruikshank.
Aleksandr Afanasyev collects and publishes his first volume of Russian fairy tales.
Gustave Dore's illustrations for Perrault's fairy tales are first published in Les Contes de Perrault, dessins par Gustave Dore.
Walter Crane publishes his color illustrations of many fairy tales in his Toybook series, including Beauty and the Beast, Bluebeard, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, and Cinderella.
Walter Crane illustrates his sister Lucy Crane's translation of Grimms' fairy tales. The book is intended to highlight Crane's illustrative work more than to present a new translation of the tales into English.
Andrew Lang publishes the first of his twelve fairy books, The Blue Fairy Book. Most of the illustrations in the books are drawn by H. J. Ford. The twelfth and final book, The Lilac Fairy Book, will be published in 1910. The books remain popular for gathering tales from numerous sources, essentially presenting multicultural fairy tale collections long before multicultural becomes a buzz word a hundred years later.
Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty premieres in St. Petersburg, Russia on January 15, 1890. Choreography is by Marius Petipa and the book is by Marius Petipa and Ivan Vsevolojsky. Some of Tchaikovsky's score will later appear in Walt Disney's adaptation of the story.
Joseph Jacobs publishes English Fairy Tales, later followed by More English Fairy Tales, Celtic Fairy Tales, Indian Fairy Tales, and European Folk and Fairy Tales. All of the books are illustrated by John Batten.
Marian Roalfe Cox publishes her book, Cinderella: Three Hundred and Forty-five Variants of Cinderella, Catskin, and Cap O' Rushes. The book discusses many tales which have not yet appeared in English and indirectly nominates Cinderella as the most common fairy tale theme around the world.
Engelbert Humperdinck's opera, Hansel und Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), premieres. Richard Strauss directs it in Weimar on December 23, 1893. The libretto is by Adelheid Wette, after the fairy story by the Grimm brothers in Kinder- und Hausmärchen. It remains one of the most popular operas enduring from this time period.
Arthur Rackham's black and white illustrations for Grimm's Fairy Tales from 1900 are enlarged, recolored, and printed in a deluxe edition which solidifies his standing as one of the most successful illustrators during the Golden Age of children's books illustration. He will continue to illustrate fairy tales throughout his career.
Finnish scholar Antti Aarne publishes The Types of the Folktale. A revised edition is published in 1928. Later, Stith Thompson translates and expands it into English in 1961.
Edmund Dulac's illustrations for Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch's The Sleeping Beauty, and Other Fairy Tales is published as a gift book. The illustrations are luminous watercolors and show why Dulac was second only to Arthur Rackham in popularity as an illustrator. The book is followed the next year by his illustrations for Stories from Hans Andersen.
Bela Bartok's opera, Duke Bluebeard's Castle, premieres. It is based on the libretti of Bela Bela Balázs, a Hungarian poet.
Warwick Goble illustrates Stories from the Pentamerone, one of the few English translations of Basile's work. Goble produces some of the best illustrations of the Italian tales. He later illustrates The Fairy Book (1923) which contains many well-known fairy tales.
Walt Disney's first feature length animated film is released, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The film is a commercial success and leads to the creation of several more Disney fairy tale adaptations. The seven dwarfs now have names, thanks to Walt Disney.
The premiere of Sergei Prokofiev's ballet, Cinderella, is presented by the Bolshoi Ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow on November 15, 1945. The libretto is by Nikolai Volkov and choreography by Rotislav Zakharov.
Jean Cocteau's film, La Belle et la bête (Beauty and the Beast) is released.
Walt Disney's Cinderella is released.
Marcia Brown's picture book, Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper, wins the Caldecott Medal (1955). She has previously been honored with several Caldecott Honor Medals for her picture book illustrations of other fairy tales, including Puss in Boots and The Wild Swans.
Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty is released.
Jay Ward's "Rocky and His Friends" premieres on November 19, 1959 at 6:30 PM on ABC. One of its popular "shows within a show" is the Fractured Fairy Tales segment. The fairy tale segments are replaced the second year but return later after viewers write to the network and request that Fractured Fairy Tales return. In 1961, the show moves to NBC and is renamed "The Bullwinkle Show." A total of 91 four and a half minute fairy tales are produced. Later syndicated, the show has remained a cult classic.
Stith Thompson expands and translates Antti Aarne's The Types of the Folktale in 1961. The Aarne-Thompson Classification System becomes the most widely used for classifying Indo-European folktales, cataloging some 2,500 basic plots.
Anne Sexton, a Pulitzer Prize winning poet, publishes her poetry anthology, Transformations. The poems present dark interpretations of well-known fairy tales not intended for children.
Bruno Bettelheim, originally from Vienna, publishes The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, a psychological analysis of the relationship between children and fairy tales. With its Freudian bias, the book becomes a staple in fairy tale studies while remaining very controversial in its views and methodology. In 1977, the book wins the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award.
Robin McKinley's Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast is published. McKinley becomes a well-respected author of fairy tale retellings with this book followed by several short stories and novels, including Deerskin.
Jack Zipes' Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales is published. It is one of the first of many books written and/or edited by Jack Zipes dealing with fairy tale studies. It also marks the start of the significant emphasis on the socio-political study of folklore that Zipes has espoused in his career.
Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber is published in Great Britain. It appears in the U.S. in 1980. Like Sexton's Transformations, this short story anthology is firmly aimed at an adult audience with its dark, sensual themes.
Shelley Duvall produces Shelley Duvall's Faerie Tale Theatre for the Showtime cable network. A total of 27 episodes are produced for the network, featuring well-known actors and actresses from the time period.
Wolfgang Mieder edits Disenchantments: An Anthology of Modern Fairy Tale Poetry. The anthology offers poetry, primarily from the past century, that relates specifically to nine well-known fairy tales. Sleeping Beauty appears to be the most common fairy tale to inspire poets according to Mieder's research and the number of poems related to it.
A prime time television series, "Beauty and the Beast," starring Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman, reinterprets the fairy tale for three seasons on CBS. The show premieres on September 25, 1987 and ends on August 4, 1990.
For four books, Ace Books publishes the Fairy Tale Series, created and edited by Terri Windling. The series consists of novel length interpretations of fairy tales for older audiences. The series is later picked up by Tor Books, beginning with Pamela Dean's Tam Lin in 1991.
Disney's The Little Mermaid is released. Although Walt Disney is no longer alive, the Disney version of the Hans Christian Andersen tale follows the Disney formula, rewriting the ending and adding cute animal helpers. The movie's success causes Disney to return to its most successful movie formula--the classic musical adapted from well-known literature--in its feature length films several times over the coming decade.
Ed Young's picture book, Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China, is published and later wins the Caldecott Medal (1990).
Disney's Beauty and the Beast is released. It is the first feature length animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award.
Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted, a retelling of Cinderella, is published. It wins a Newbery Honor Medal (1998). Also appearing this year is Paul Zelinsky's picture book,
Rapunzel, which wins the Caldecott Medal (1998).
David Wiesner wins the Caldecott Medal (2002) for his fractured fairy tale picture book, The Three Pigs.
The AT Number Classification system was updated and expanded to better accommodate international tales with the publication of The Types of International Folktales: A Classification and Bibliography by Hans-Jörg Uther. The new system employs the Aarne–Thompson–Uther classification (ATU number) designation.
The film Shrek 2, the sequel to Shrek, is one of the highest grossing movies of the year. It revisits fairy tale themes while parodying popular culture. The film becomes a film franchise with sequels and tie-ins, including 4 Shrek films and a spin-off Puss in Boots (2011).
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan is released to high acclaim and garners many nominations and awards. It is a rare retelling of Snow White and Rose Red and deals with tough themes. The novel is also controversial and part of the debate over what is suitable for young adult audiences.
Disney releases its first feature length fairy tale film in over a decade, The Princess and the Frog. The film features the first black Disney princess and is set in Louisiana. The plot borrows from The Frog Princeas well as the novel, The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker.
Disney's Tangled follows up the previous year's release of The Princess and the Frog. It is a commercial success.
Two new TV series are started, Once Upon a Time (ABC/Disney) and Grimm (NBC/Universal) which become hits and are renewed in 2014 for 4th seasons, a milestone for syndication rights which demonstrates the popularity of the shows.
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the first publication of the Grimms' fairy tales, many conferences and new publications are produced around the world.
Fairy tales continue to be hot commodities in Hollywood with several higher budget film releases with star power and producers, including Red Riding Hood (2011), Beastly (2011), Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), Jack the Giant Slayer (2013), and Maleficent (2014).