Studien zur literarischen Erinnerungskultur für junge Leser
Edited By Gabriele von Glasenapp and Hans-Heino Ewers-Uhlmann
Fairy Tales, Hope, and the Culture of Defeat from the Postbellum American South to Postwar Germany 455
Donald Haase (Detroit) Fairy Tales, Hope, and the Culture of Defeat from the Postbellum American South to Postwar Germany A few years ago, I purchased a volume of German fairy tales at a used book sale sponsored by the Friends of the Library in my community. The book that had made its way from Nürnberg, where it had been published in 1926, to a suburb of Detroit, was Otto Glaser’s Märchen (1926). In this book of unremarkable fairy tales, I found two inscriptions – one above the other – on the endsheet. The first, at the top, read: “Der lieben Lulu zu Weihnachten 1941 von ihrer lieben Mutti.” Below it, the second read: “Nun der lieben Mausel zur 6. Kriegsweih- nacht 1944 von ihrer Schwester Lulu.” As traces of private life and childhood during the Third Reich and the Second World War, these brief inscriptions are telling, not only because of the scarcity and hardship evident in the wartime recycling of gifts from one family member to another, but also because they reveal how the war had impressed itself so deeply on Lulu’s life that it marked her experience of time itself. Even family celebrations of Christmas were measured by the war’s longevity. The Second World War is literally inscribed into this otherwise insignificant collec- tion of tales that passed from one person to another as a wartime gift. The history of this little volume took on added significance for me when I came across another example of wartime gift-giving....
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