Ruth B. Bottigheimer

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Ruth B. Bottigheimer is a literary scholar, folklorist, and author. She is currently an adjunct professor in the department of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at Stony Brook University, State University of New York[1] where she specializes and teaches courses in European fairy tales and British children’s literature.[1] She is also interested in the history of illustration and the religious socialization of children through edited Bible narratives.[1] She “has been hailed as one of America’s foremost Grimm scholars”.[2]


Bottigheimer earned her D.A. in German Literature and Language in 1981 through Stony Brook University, State University of New York.[1] She earned a B.A. (Honors) in German Literature and Medieval History and an M.A. in German Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.[3] She also attended Wellesley College, the University of Munich, and the University College London.[3]


In addition to her current position at Stony Brook University, Bottigheimer has also taught at Hollins College, the University of Innsbruck, Göttingen University, Princeton University, the University of California, and others.[3] She is a member of numerous professional organizations including the International Society for Folk Narrative Research, Bruder Grimm Gesellschaft, the Children’s Literature Association, and the Modern Language Association.[3]

Bottigheimer is currently researching “the history of early British children’s literature; the seventeenth-century Port-Royalist Nicolas Fontaine; and [continues to research] a new history of fairy tales”.[1] The Stony Brook University website states that “[Bottigheimer’s] work crosses disciplinary boundaries, contextualizing genres in their socio-historical cultures of origin, assessing them in terms of publishing history parameters, and utilizing linguistics in discourse analysis”.[1]

Bottigheimer’s languages of research include English, German, French, and occasionally Italian and Spanish.[1]



  • Fairy Tales: A New History (Excelsior Editions: State University of New York, 2009)
  • Gender and Story in South India, Ed. with Lalita Handoo and Leela Prasad (State University of New York Press, 2007)
  • Fairy Godfather: Straparola, Venice, and the Fairy Tale Tradition (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002)
  • Folklore and Gender, Ed. with Lalita Handoo (Zooni Publications, 1999)
  • The Bible for Children: From the Age of Gutenberg to the Present (Yale University Press, 1996)
  • Grimm’s Bad Girls and Bold Boys: The Moral and Social Vision of the Tales (Yale University Press, 1987)
  • Fairy Tales and Society: Illusion, Allusion and Paradigm, Ed. (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1987)


  • “Semiliterate and Semi-Oral Processes” with Rudolf Schenda in Marvels and Tales 21 (1) (2007)
  • “Preface to the Special Issue on Fairy Tales, Printed Texts, and Oral Tellings” in Marvels and Tales 21(1) (2007)
  • “Reply” in Marvels and Tales 20 (2) (2006)
  • “France’s First Fairy Tales: The Restoration and Rise Narratives of Les facetieuses nuictz du Seigneur Francois Straparole” in Marvels and Tales 19 (1) (2005)
  • “Fairy Tales, Telemachus, and Young Misses Magazine: Moderns, Ancients, Gender, and Eighteenth-Century Children’s Book Publishing” in Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 28 (3) (2003)
  • “Misperceived Perceptions: Perrault’s Fairy Tales and English Children’s Literature” in Children’s Literature 30 (2002)
  • "Elevated Inceptions and Popular Outcomes: The Contes of Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy and Charles Perrault" in ELO 7/8 (2001/2002)
  • “Reply” in Marvels and Tales 15 (1) (2001)
  • "Historical Authorship, Commercial Interest, and National Attribution: L'Histoire du Vieux et du Nouveau Testament (Paris: Pierre Le Petit, 1670 et seq.)" in Bulletin du bibliophile (January 2001)
  • "The Rivalry of the Testaments in the Transmission of Biblical Culture to Children" in GottesVorstellungen. Die Frage nach Gott in religiösen Bildungsprozessen: Gottfried Adam zum 60. Ed. Ulrich Körtner Geburtstag and Robert Schelander (Schulfach Religion 2000)
  • "Fertility Control and the Birth of the Modern Fairy Tale Heroine" in Marvels and Tales 14.1 (2000)
  • "Les Bibles pour enfants et leurs lecteurs aux XVIe et XVIIe siècles en France et en Allemagne" in La Bible Imprimée dans l'Europe moderne (Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 1999)
  • "Männlich - Weiblich: Sexualität und Geschlechterrollen” in Männlch - Weiblich: Zur Bedeutung der Kategorie Geschlecht in der Kultur (Waxmann Verlag, 1999)
  • "Kinderbibeln als Gattung: Historische und forschungspraktische Bermerkungen zu Gestalt und Wandel einer literarischen Gattung".in Gottfried Ed. Adam and Rainer Lachmann (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1999)
  • "Gott in Kinderbibeln: Der veränderliche Charakter Gottes" in Gottfried Ed. Adam and Rainer Lachmann (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1999)
  • "Illustration and Imagination" in Fellowship Program Researchers' Report, International Institute for Children's Literature Osaka 1999: 71–106 (English), 42–70 (Japanese).
  • "Folklore and Gender" in Ruth B. Bottigheimer and Lalitha Handoo, eds., Folklore and Gender (Zooni Publications, 1999)
  • "Fairytales about Fairytales" in Whelks Walk Review 1.1 (1998)
  • "Cultural History and the Meanings of Children's Literature" in Signal 87 (September 1998)
  • "'An Important System of its Own': Defining Children's Literature" in Princeton University Library Chronicle 69.2 (1998)
  • "Märchen in Amerika" in Märchen in Erziehung und Unterricht heute (Rehrmann, 1997)
  • "Aneignung des Fremden" in Das Fremde in der Kinder- und Jugendliteratur: Interkulturelle Perspektiven Ed. Bettina Hurrelmann and Karin Richter (Juventa Verlag, 1997)
  • "Zur englischsprachigen Kinder- und Literaturforschung der 90er Jahr - ein aktueller Überblick" in Das Fremde in der Kinder- und Jugendliteratur Ed. Bettina Hurrelmann and Karin Richter. (Juventa Verlag, 1997)
  • "Rudolf Schenda and Folk Narrative" in Europaea 3,1 (1997)
  • "'Wir werden nicht als Mädchen geboren - wir werden dazu gemacht'" in FrauenforscherInnen stellen sich vor, Ed. Ilse Nagelschmidt. Leipzig (Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 1996)
  • "Children's Bibles 1690–1750 and the Emergence of Fictions for Children" in Compar(a)ison 2 (1995)
  • "God, fathers, and the expression of anger: Change in lay views of the divine in children's Bibles (16th to 20th centuries)" in Folk Narrative and Worldview: Vorträge des internationalen Gesellschaft für Volkserzählungsforschung (ISFNR) Innsbruck 1992. Eds. Ingo Schneider and Petra Streng (Peter Lang, 1996)
  • "The Character of God: from The Bible for Children from the Age of Gutenberg to the Present" in Icarus 16 (Winter 1995)
  • "Children's Bibles as a Form of Folk Narrative" (182-190) in Folk Narrative and Cultural Identity. 9th Congress of the International Society for Folk Narrative Research. Budapest 1989 Ed. Vilmos Voigt (Budapest 1995)
  • "Moses Mordechai Büdinger's Kleine Bibel (1823) and Vernacular Jewish Children's Bibles" in Jewish Social Studies 3 (1995)
  • "Publishing, Print, and Change in the Image of Eve and the Apple 1470–1570" in Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 86 (1995)
  • "Kinderbibeln: Probleme der sprachlichen Gestaltung am Beispiel Gen. 22 und 39" in Christenlehre 48 (1995)
  • "The Child-Reader of Children's Bibles 1656–1753" (44-56) in Infant Tongues: The Voice of the Child in Literature Ed. Elizabeth Goodenough, Mark Heberle, and Naomi Sokoloff (Wayne State University Press, 1994)
  • "The Bible for Children: The Emergence and Development of the Genre 1550–1990" (347-62) in The Church and Childhood: Studies in Church History 31 Ed. Diana Woods and Janet Nelson (Blackwell, 1994)
  • "Straparola's Piacevoli Notti: Rags-to-Riches Fairy Tales as Urban Creations" in Merveilles et Contes (December 1994)
  • "The Injunction to Work: Children's Bibles, Class Difference, and Publishing History" in Kinderliteratur im interkulturellen Prozess: Studien zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Kinderliteratur-Wissenschaft Eds. Hans-Heino Ewers, Gertrud Lehnert, and Emer O'Sullivan (J. B. Metzler, 1994)
  • "Shelf Life: The book at the bookseller's" in Publishing History 34 (1993)
  • "The Publishing History of Grimms' Tales: Reception at the Cash Register" in The Reception of Grimms' Fairy Tales: Responses, Reaction, Revisions. Ed. Donald P. Haase (Wayne State University Press, 1993)
  • "God and the Bourgeoisie: Class, the Two-Tier Tradition, Work, and Proletarianization in Children's Bibles" in Lion and the Unicorn 17.2 (1993)
  • "Luckless, Witless, and Filthy-Footed: A Socio-Cultural Study and Publishing History Analysis of 'The Lazy Boy' (AT 675)" in Journal of American Folklore 106. 421 (Summer 1993)
  • "Bible Reading, 'Bibles', and the Bible for Children in Early Modern Germany" in Past and Present 139 (May 1993)
  • "Sixteenth Century Tale Collections and their Use in the Kinder- und Hausmärchen" in Monatshefte 84 (1992)
  • "Fairy Tales and Children's Literature: A Feminist Perspective" (101-108) in Options for the Teaching of Children's Literature (Modern Language Association, 1992)
  • "An Alternative Eve" in Children's Literature Quarterly (1991)
  • "Kinderbibeln in Deutschland und Europa -- geschichtlicher Überblick" in Die Bibel als Kinderbuch, Ed. Roswitha Cordes (Veröffentlichungen der Katholischen Akademie Schwerte 21 (1991)
  • "Biblische Thematik in Wort und Bild" in Die Bibel als Kinderbuch, ed. Roswitha Cordes (Veröffentlichungen der Katholischen Akademie Schwerte 21 (1991)
  • "Fairy Tale Illustrations: Children's Drawings and the Male Imagination" in Papers of the 4th Congress of the Société Internationale d'Ethnologie et de Folklore Ed. Bente Gullveig Alver and Torunn Selberg (1991)
  • "Religion for the Young in Bible Story Collections" in Fabula 32 (1991)
  • "Martin Luther's Children's Bible" in Wolfenbütteler Notizen zur Buchgeschichte 15.2 (1990)
  • "Marienkind (KHM 3): A Computer-Based Study of Editorial Change and Stylistic Development within Grimms' Tales 1808–1864" in ARV Scandinavian Yearbook of Folklore 46 (1990)
  • "Ludwig Bechstein's Fairy Tales: Nineteenth Century Bestsellers and Bürgerlichkeit" in Internationales Archiv für Sozialgeschichte der deutschen Literatur 15.2 (1990)
  • "Motif, Meaning, and Editorial Change in Grimms' Tales: One Plot, Three Tales, and Three Different Stories," in From One Tale to Another ... Variability in Narrative (CNRS, 1990)
  • "Resource Guide" in From the Brothers Grimm 3.1 (1989)
  • "Beauty and the Beast: Marriage and Disenchantment - Motif and Motivation" in Midwestern Folklore Fall (1989)
  • "Fairy Tales, Folk Narrative Research, and History" in Social History 14.1 (1989)
  • "Bettelheims Hexe: Die fragwürdige Beziehung zwischen Märchen und Psychoanalyse" in Psychotherapie - Psychosomatik - Medizinische -Psychologie 39 (1989) Reprinted in Kurt Derungs, Der psychologische Mythos: Frauen, Märchen und Sexismus (Edition Amalia, 1996)
  • "Cupid and Psyche vs. Beauty and the Beast: The Milesian and theModern" in Merveilles et Contes 3.1 (1989)
  • "From Gold to Guilt: The Forces Which Re-Shaped the Grimms' Tales" in The Brothers Grimm and the Folktale (University of Illinois Press, 1988)
  • "The Face of Evil" in Fabula 29.3-4 (1988)
  • "One Hundred and Fifty Years of German at Princeton: A Descriptive Account" in Teaching German in America: Prolegomena to a History Ed. David Benseler, Walter F. W. Lohnes, & Valters Nollendorfs (University of Wisconsin Press, 1988)
  • "Still, Grethel!" - Verstummte Frauen in Grimms 'Kinder- und Haus-märchen'" in Kontroversen, alte und neue 6 Ed. Albrecht Schöne, Inge Stephan and Carl Pietzcker (Niemeyer, 1986) Reprinted in Beiträge zur Kinder- und Jugendliteratur 91 (1989)
  • "Studies in Silence: Speech Patterns in Grimm's Fairy Tales" in Fairy Tales and Society (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986)
  • "Iconographic Continuity: A Study of the Illustration History of 'The Goosegirl' (KHM 89)" in Children's Literature 13 (1985)
  • "Close Encounters in a Second Language: Native Speakers in the Foreign Language Classroom," in Unterrichtspraxis (Fall 1983)
  • "Tale Spinners: Submerged Voices in Grimms' Fairy Tales" in New German Critique 27 (1982)
  • "The Transformed Queen: A Search for the Origins of Negative Female Archetypes in the Grimms' Fairy Tales" in Amsterdamer Beiträge 10 (1980)
  • "Lifelong Learning -- Its Importance for Foreign Languages" in Manitoba Modern Language Journal (co-authored with Barbara Elling) Spring (1979)
  • "Educational Baggage" in Language Association Bulletin of the New York State Association of Foreign Language Teachers (March 1977)

In addition to the above works, Bottigheimer has also written numerous reviews, encyclopedia articles, and published several translations.[3]


Bottigheimer’s recent conclusions about the literary history of fairy tales, published in her book Fairy Tales: A New History, have created a great deal of controversy among folklore scholars.[7] At both the 2005 congress of the International Society for Folk Narrative Research in Estonia and the 2006 meeting of the American Folklore Society in Milwaukee, Bottigheimer’s claims – particularly the claim that the fairy tale “template” was originally conceived of by a 16th-century Italian writer named Straparola[7] – were repeatedly and “uproar[iously]”[7] questioned by “unpersuaded” folklorists.[7] Folklorists Dan Ben-Amos, Francisco Vaz da Silva, and Jan Ziolkowski are each working on papers responding to Bottigheimer’s claims that, along with a response from Bottigheimer, will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of American Folklore.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Stony Brook University Website, Ruth B. Bottigheimer's Information Page.
  2. ^ Bendix, Regina. 1989. Book Review: Grimms' Bad Girls and Bold Boys: The Moral and Social Vision of the Tales by Ruth B. Bottigheimer. The Journal of American Folklore 102 (403): 95–97.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Ruth B. Bottigheimer CV, Ruth B. Bottigheimer's Curriculum Vitae.
  4. ^
  5. ^ JSTOR
  6. ^ Project MUSE
  7. ^ a b c d e The Chronicle of Higher Education, "From 'Once Upon a Time' to 'Happily Ever After'" by Jennifer Howard.

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