a recording of this lecture will be available to ticket holders for two weeks after the event

The classic fairy tale is a story about how a person or a group of people copes with a supernatural event or a supernatural being, usually under circumstances of extreme stress. Every known culture tells them, so they are probably intrinsic to the human race. This talk traces their development within Europe, from the earliest times to the present, and in the process shows how some of the best-known today, like Cinderella and Snow White, appeared. It also tells the life stories of the greatest modern collectors or composers of such stories, the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen, which are as colourful as many of the narratives they published. It traces the continuation of the literary fairy story up to J. R. R. Tolkien, and asks which famous modern works of fantasy fiction are, and are not, fairy tales.

Speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is a leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs.