Talk:The Emperor's New Clothes

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Novels / Short story (Rated B-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Novels, an attempt to build a comprehensive and detailed guide to novels, novellas, novelettes and short stories on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, you can edit one of the articles mentioned below, or visit the project page, where you can join the project and contribute to the general Project discussion to talk over new ideas and suggestions.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by Short story task force.
WikiProject Children's literature (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Children's literature, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Children's literature on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Denmark (Rated B-class, High-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Denmark, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Denmark on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
B-Class article B  This article has been rated as B-Class on the project's quality scale.
 High  This article has been rated as High-importance on the project's importance scale.

Some criticism of style[edit]

It's hard to tell someone that they "don't get it" but this story is not a euphemism (look up the word) or a zen koan. The story is a folktale of a recognized type. The phrase is a metaphor or an allusion, but not a euphemism or a koan. A principal folktale theme, if not the principal point, is the "truth seen by the eyes of a child" and spoken by a person too naive to understand the group pressures to see something in a way contrary to obvious appearance. Secondary themes are how vanity makes one vulnerable to being conned, and how rarely a dependent minister or courtier will tell a ruler the truth if it's potentially bad news. And--- style tip, here--- never, never, never use "impacted" as a verb unless you want to knock 30 points off your perceived IQ-- it's bureaucratese at its worst and does not belong in a witty folktale. Wiki-linking "no clothes" to "Naked" is like sniggering at the word-- how old are you? I like my concise version better, but I am of course biased. How about letting it live here for awhile?

Now, here's an editor after my own heart. As for me, I particularly enjoy "This remark impacted everyone's mind" because it is so transparently a second-thought improvement on the writer's original: "This remark blew everyone's mind." This entry has been written without rereading Andersen's tale, apparently. Compare what similar boobies are up to at Rapunzel. If I sound peevish, it's because a good edit is an improvement, not simply a change in the text. A good rule at Wikipedia is Avoid unnecessary interference.--Wetman 03:21, 5 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I don't know about you, but I personally think one should present many interpretations of a story and allow the reader to choose for themselves and not interpreting it for the reader, especially for stories with a pith as these. Though looking back, I suppose my Zen koan stuff (or as Nuhh-huh no-quite-subtly calls it, "crapola") was a bit excessive. I would argue however that my writing of "impacted" is merely de-idiomisation of "blew mind" for any non-native-English speakers dropping by. -- Znode 2004-11-08T21:46-08:00 If someone is tone-deaf, how do you explain they hit the wrong note? Your language sounds like it would if I tried to play the piano, but if you can't hear it I don't know how to convince you. Alteripse 13:41, 9 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Previous better version[edit]

The Emperor's New Clothes was one of Hans Christian Andersen's children's fables (Danish title Kejserens nye klæder) published in his fairy tale collection in 1837.

An emperor was too vain of his clothing. Two swindlers claimed to be able to make a suit of cloth so fine that it was invisible to anyone "unfit to hold his office or unpardonably stupid." One after another, his advisors, the emperor himself, and most of his subjects refused to admit they could not see the clothes. When the emperor paraded naked in his new clothes, only a naive little boy in the crowd exclaimed aloud that he was wearing no clothes. Even after he said this and some in the crowd began to whisper that he was right, the emperor and his courtiers continued to pretend they could see the clothes.

"The emperor's new clothes" have become a metaphor, especially in political and social contexts, for any obvious truth denied by the majority despite the evidence of their eyes, especially when proclaimed by the government.

In practice, the phrase is often used as persuasion by partisans when in fact it is not obvious that their position is correct. Example: " They've assured us that there are no side effects to (nuclear energy, tobacco, auto emissions, silicon, etc.), but let's face it, the emperor has no clothes (on)."

Similar tales It has been claimed that Andersen's original source was a Spanish story recorded by Don Juan Manuel (1282-1348). This story of the little boy puncturing the pretensions of the emperor's court has parallels from other cultures, categorized as Aarne-Thompson folktale type 1620.

Links Original story in English translation ( Another version and some similar tales and links (

Different Theme?[edit]

I don't know how to put this into encyclopedic terms well, but I always got a different idea out of this story. I thought it was sort of pointing out that people will sometimes pretend to understand something, or otherwise deceive, in order to look better to others. That sounds vague, so I'll use an example. // On the playground, Joe tells an inside joke to a group of his friends. Tom, who has just started to hang out with this clique, laughs along with everyone else as if he understood the joke, lest he feel alienated. // Can anyone do anything with that? :/

I agree that it's pretty juvenile to have a link to the "Naked" page here. If anyone wants to read up on that, I'm sure they can.

And I definitely think the original Danish title of the story should be included. --BDD 01:46, 6 Apr 2005 (UTC)

I think this is a much better interpretation of the story.

It also shows that the we can learn something from the innocent courage of a child, who does not fear and does not rationalise the clothes, but simply tells it how it is.

These interpretations and the one mentioned in the first line of the Analysis should be given equal weighting with the group think interpretation.

11:10, 29 November 2007 (UTC)~Graham.

Reference to Wallace and Gromit[edit]

This concerns an edit made by User:Silverfish. Why remove the comparison to The Wrong Trousers? I didn't see anything wrong with the analysis. --Steerpike 15:37, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

There are a few points. Firstly, much of it seems to have very little to do with The Emperor's New Clothes, but about other references and alleged references in The Wrong Trousers. For example, the mention of The Republic, or the supposed references to immigrantion and class. Also, what remains is presented in a POV way in asserting that they are references, whereas it doesn't seem clear to me that they are references. In the case of Wallace drying his hair, this seems likely to be just either a humorous image, or a reference to Wallace's vanity. The apparent reference embedded in them both having the names of types of clothing seems very stretched, especially as the trousers of the title are not illusory, but are just put to an unsuitable end. Similarly the claim that any allegory (for no particular one is cited at the end), is a reference to Animal Farm, itself referencing The Emperor's New Clothes, seems even more stretched.
Given this, I think the POV approach would be to cite particular critics who favour these interpretation, assuming that it is a notable enough POV. Otherwise, as it stands, it seems to be one person's interpretation, and so POV, and quite possibly original research. Silverfish 16:12, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
Ok. Good point. --Steerpike 16:56, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

What's with the link to Shadow (psychology)?[edit]

I don't understand why we have, under "See also", a link to Shadow (psychology). I would be grateful if someone could explain the relevance of this link. Otherwise it shouldn't be there.

I have added a link to Conformism, which IMO clearly is relevant.

Ireneshusband 00:02, 1 June 2006 (UTC)

The article of Shadow (psychology) also links back to The Emperor's New Clothes with this quote: "In Jungian psychology, the shadow or "shadow aspect" is a part of the unconscious mind which is mysterious and often disagreeable to the conscious mind, but which is also relatively close to the conscious mind. It may be (in part) one's original self, which is superseded during early childhood by the conscious mind; afterwards it comes to contain thoughts that are repressed by the conscious mind. The shadow is instinctive and irrational, but is not necessarily evil even when it might appear to be so. It can be both ruthless in conflict and empathetic in friendship. It is important as a source of hunches, for understanding of one's own more inexplicable actions and attitudes (and of others' reactions), and for learning how to cope with the more problematic or troubling aspects of one's personality. (For example, See The Emperor's New Clothes.)
And now from this article: The story is also used to express a concept of "truth seen by the eyes of a child", an idea that truth is often spoken by a person too naïve to understand group pressures to see contrary to the obvious. This is a general theme of "purity within innocence" throughout Andersen's fables and many similar works of literature.
So the way I interpret this, the child in Andersen's tale would still act mostly by the impulses of the shadow aspect of his mind, and therefore is the only one who blurts out the emperor has no clothes. The adults in the tale have largely learned to replace that shadow aspect with rational thought. The child senses this. I should note however, that in the context of Andersen fairytales, a link to Shadow (psychology) might have been more appropriate at The Shadow (fairy tale) :) --Steerpike 09:43, 1 June 2006 (UTC)


I love this fairy tale, as it provides such a useful metaphor about gullibility, but I still want to point out lapses of logic in the story. (1) The emperor should have sent his “trusted men” in to look at the cloth “blind” (in the sense of scientific trials) without first telling them the theory about the cloth. He would then have to decide whether his men were stupid or the cloth merchants were swindlers. (2) If the cloth was invisible to stupid people, he could be sure that he would be seen naked by some of his subjects when he wore the clothes in public. (3) Who “allowed [the emperor] to be dressed in the clothes for a procession through town”? The “trusted men,” who couldn’t see the clothes themselves? Were the cloth merchants still around? They should have expected to be found to be swindlers when the clothes were seen by a large number of people. (4) No underwear? (5) No sense of touch? – Espa, 9 October 2006

You'd have a point if the story literally referred to non-extistent clothes. The major flaw in my mind, when the kid rumbles the game, everyones eyes are suddenly opened to the obvious... I think not. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 05:51, 30 December 2006 (UTC).
It's not just about gullibility... it's also about pretentiousness. How many people turn a blind eye to something just to "look good"? That, to me, is what this story is about. It's about , among other things, allowing yourself to pay $700 for a pair of trousers just because the fashionista tell you they will make you "cool" if you wear them. (talk) 03:23, 22 October 2008 (UTC)James Birkbeck

Logical fallacy?[edit]

Is there a logic fallacy associated with this story? It sounds like it may be a type of ad hominem argument ("it was invisible to anyone who was either stupid or not fit for his position") --George100 11:05, 29 July 2007 (UTC)

"Recent scholarship" section[edit]

I am questioning the appropriateness of this section for inclusion here. First, it appears to be "selling" Tatar's book and secondly, the entire section is inadequately sourced. It's only source directs the reader to a site that requires a subscription to read Hollis' article. I've tried removing the section only to have it returned by one insistent editor that it be included here. I think the section is neither scholarly nor encyclopedic and merits deletion. Please weigh in on this. Thanks! Kathyrncelestewright (talk) 03:37, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

I just merged the section into Commentaries, since the two authors seem pretty notable, and their assessment on the story could give more in-depth analysis. However, I don't think Critic11 (talk · contribs) inserted the section to advocate Maria Tatar or sell her book. Please assume good faith. Pro. Tatar is quite a notable figure in children's literature, and news sources inform that her 2007 book gives extensive view on this story. However, it should be mentioned what she says about it in her book.--Caspian blue 16:47, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
The Hollis Robbins info and citation leads one to a subscription site. I'll move all to a "Further reading" section with a warning for the reader that a subscription is required. The Tatar line has been incorporated elsewhere. Kathyrncelestewright (talk) 17:56, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I disagree with your assessment on sources only accessible for those who pay the fee. Except two books, your sources do not provide preview on Google books, so can not be reached to people who do not live in North America/UK or could not afford to buy the book by paying expensive additional international shipping fees. You can ask Critic11 to provide direct quotes from the journal, but in my opinion, it is the same condition that readers should assume good faith on your and his sources.--Caspian blue 18:40, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Kathyrncelestewright seems to have lost her objectivity and is taking revenge on other sites.Critic11 (talk) 19:23, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Caspainblue, sources I've cited in the Emperor article are available for free at public libraries and my sources are not used inappropriately. I'm not directing someone to buy the book or pay a fee to view it. Your argument is something to direct to the administration for policy review but, at this point in time, WP does not permit citations that direct the reader to pay-per-view sites. It smacks of an inappropriate interest on WP's part. Critic11, I'm not taking revenge on anyone or anything. I'm only concerned with tip-top work on the Emperor article. Directing its readers to pay-per-view sites and inadequately souced WP articles is not tip-top work. Best! Kathyrncelestewright (talk) 20:03, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Kathyrncelestewright, no, you're wrong. The public library to which you refer means only libraries in US, and UK, other English speaking world and not in Asia or elsewhere. Even specific or narrowly focused books in English can not be easily accessible to people living outside big cities in the first group of the countries. You forget that many readers of English Wikipedia come from non-English speaking world. They have to assume good faith on sources that can not be reached to their area as I translated many articles to other language Wikipedia. However, you seem to think that readers would be in the same condition with which you have. I'm also not a native English speaker, but use English Wikipedia as a reader to get information on interested areas. According to your logic, JSTOR sources could not be used for citations, since it only requires membership. However, academic sources from the site are abundantly used within Wikipedia. Project MUSE is also a similar to JSTOR. Since Wikipedia is managed by anonymous editors, we have to assume good faith, so I assume good faith on your citation even though I can not access to many of them. I'm certain that you misread our citation policy. The policy/guideline does not prohibit to use offline book sources, or sources that requires specific membership. If it has, please show me the link.Caspian blue 20:24, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm also reminding you that you're unnecessarily engaging in edit warring (perhaps, you exceed 3RR already), so please discuss and get consensus instead of reverting.--Caspian blue 20:25, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Sites that may require payment are explicitly allowed: Wikipedia:V#Access_to_sources. Many public libraries have subscriptions to such sites, so they may be accessed at the library or sometimes remotely if you have a library card.John Z (talk) 21:33, 7 November 2009 (UTC)
Caspian asked me to comment here. He knows I do not always say what's expected, but in this case he is certainly 100% correct. References can come from pay sources to, from print or online, as long as they are available in some manner to the general public. References in Project Muse are actually to the journals whose electronic versions are distributed by Project Muse, and should be written as a link to the printed journal with an additional convenience link to the Project Muse version. Every journal in this collection is available in print in a large number of libraries, several hundred at least, including many libraries with public access, just as for other print journals. Even the online version is available free from some public libraries. Every article in every journal in this collection is available, usually a no charge, through the Interlibrary loan system of any good public or academic library. Given the print journal reference, any librarian in any good library should be able to figure out how to provide access to a copy--there are a multitude of ways, but the starting point is the print citation. BTW, the same exactly goes for JSTOR, except that JSTOR provides only backfiles. The source is the journal article--JSTOR (or MUSE) is just the producer & distributor of the electronic version. DGG ( talk ) 21:45, 7 November 2009 (UTC)

Comparing/contrasting scholarly views[edit]

The commentaries section should not be used to compare/contrast scholars' views on the tale. Let each scholar speak for him/herself in a summarized paragraph or two of his/her views and then allow the reader to compare/contrast and draw conclusions for her/himself. Editorial comparing/contrasting smacks of OR. Please be careful of using loaded words like "complex" unless they are cited to a source. Such words smack of POV. Thanks! Kathyrncelestewright (talk) 15:23, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Agreed but everybody's view are not equal. The two primary scholars on the tale are Tatar and Robbins, who are not at all in disagreement. But Tatar was clearly influenced by Robbins's reading and has acknowledged it several times, particularly in her four mentions of Robbins's work. (Much of the influence is uncited and has been folded into Tatar's readings, which is perfectly appropriate). Thus Tatar and Robbins should have more equal "voice."Critic11 (talk) 15:36, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

IYHO, Tatar and Robbins are the "two primary scholars on the tale." OK, you're entitled to an opinon. But it is nowhere established EXCEPT in your opinion that these two are the "primary scholars" on this tale. This is POV. Enter a summary on Robbins's essay AFTER the Wullschlager paragraph and BEFORE the Tatar paragraph without offering original research comparisons and contrasts. Let the reader draw his or her own conclusions. I can't do the Robbins essay because it's $20. I'll check out the library next week. Let the taxpayer foot the bill on this one. Kathyrncelestewright (talk) 16:12, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

I also wonder why you keep putting in "African American Studies" scholar when it is not appropriate here. That's why I keep taking it out.(Critic11 (talk) 15:37, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Well, she is, isn't she? Why is pointing out her qualifications and credentials to speak on this subject "inappropriate"? It's been done with Tatar and Wullschlager. You're not challenging that stuff. Her credentials are being established for the reader. Otherwise she just appears as somebody out of the blue who has decided to write an essay. Return that material. I'd do it myself except I'll probably be violating some "Go Directly to Jail" rule for doing so. As I said earlier, I'm not going to get into edit warring with you on this article. Let the chips fall where they may. Kathyrncelestewright (talk) 16:12, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Um, this has nothing to do with my "opinion." Scholarship is a matter of peer review and publication. Tatar, Robbins, Wood, et al, are scholars. Scholarship is established through publication. Critic11 (talk) 16:17, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Hollis Robbins essay[edit]

Someone could if someone chose enter a summary of Robbins's article in the commentaries section. I can't because the article costs $20 from Jstor or Muse (I forget which one). Anyway I can't afford it and IMHO $20 is kinda stiff for ten or eleven pages. I would feel uncomfortable getting it "for free" from my alma mater because somebody somewhere is going to foot the bill. Like bookstores, Jstor and Muse are in business to make money by selling the works of others and trying to get stuff "for free" from them is not my style. Kathyrncelestewright (talk) 15:41, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

I got it from my library and summarized it. It may need some cleanup; happy if someone could help with it.Critic11 (talk) 15:49, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

I'm thrilled! I'd love to read her essay but it costs $20 at Muse or Jstor (can't remember which one) and I'm not going to shell that out for a few pages. Enter your summary after the Wullschlager paragraph (keep things in chronological order). Wow! I'm excited that you have accessed and summarized the Robbins article! Kathyrncelestewright (talk) 16:15, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

I'm contacting the public library tomorrow to get a copy of the article. I'll be glad to help summarize the Robbins article. Give me a day or two to actually receive the copy of the article. Best! Kathyrncelestewright (talk) 18:25, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Naomi Wood[edit]

I'm having trouble with the Naomi Wood entry: "Naomi Wood challenges Robbins's reading, arguing that before the World Trade Center attacks of 2001, "Robbins's argument might seem merely playful, anti-intuitive, and provocative." Wood concludes: "Perhaps the truth of "The Emperor's New Clothes" is not that the child's truth is mercifully free of adult corruption, but that it recognizes the terrifying possibility that whatever words we may use to clothe our fears, the fabric cannot protect us from them." Who is Naomi Wood? What is Marvel & Tales? Is it an academic journal or what? Quotes from any commentator should be paraphrased as much as possible. Your entries must be developed into paragraphs. Right now they appear as not much more than bulleted entries on a "List of Andersen Commentators and What They're Saying in Quotation Marks". WP doesn't encourage one or two sentence paragraphs. Try to develop your contributions into multiple sentence paragraphs. The World Trade Center must be explained. Some may not know what the World Trade Center is (children or young teens for example) and what it has to do with "The Emperor's New Clothes". A wikilink is not enough. When this article goes to GA, a reviewer is going to ask these questions so best get them out of the way now. Best~ Kathyrncelestewright (talk) 20:00, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

Yes, as a scholar I assume that laypeople know the peer reviewed journals such as Marvels & Tales and scholars such as Wood. Outside the university, I imagine these things seem random. Inside we all know each other. I do imagine that most readers know what happened in September 2001, however. Critic11 (talk) 22:51, 8 November 2009 (UTC)

I suppose a lot of readers will be wondering who Naomi Wood is and why her commentary is something that should be included here. Having been through the GA proces a few times, I'm reasonably sure a GA reviewer will wonder too. Is there a chance you could include some credentials as an introduction: "Naomi Wood, folk and fairy tale researcher and Danish literature chair at XYZ University in Anytown, USA, wrote in Marvel & Tales, a peer-review journal published by XYZ ...". Who is she anyway? The first thing the best reviewers ask at GA is something like: "What makes Bredsdorff a reliable source?" and the nominator of the article is expected to give an answer: "In 1975, Elias Bredsdorff was Fellow at Peterhouse and Reader in Scandinavian Studies at the University of Cambridge" ... or the material and citation are expunged and the page sown with salt. I suppose the process is similar in academia so likely you're familiar with it. Academic Maria Tatar needs no such introduction because she has a wikilink bio establishing her expertise and at least one work published by Norton which most reviewers would recognize as a reasonably "reliable" publisher. But Naomi Wood? Who is she? When the article goes to GA, it's possible it could be reviewed by a thirteen-year-old -- which likely wouldn't happen in academia but WP is another place. So please, try to introduce your commentators. Most of your contibutions are one or two sentence paragraphs. Please try to develop them into whole cloth paragraphs rather than snippets. WP abhors such one sentence paragraphs and asks us to develop them. Thanks! Best! Kathyrncelestewright (talk) 00:16, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

I found this on Google: "Naomi Wood teaches children's and Victorian literature at Kansas State University". Is this correct? I'm going to stick it in the article because people are reading it at this time and will want to know. If it's incorrect, remove it. Kathyrncelestewright (talk) 00:20, 9 November 2009 (UTC)

Note re GA Nomination for GA reviewer[edit]

Please note that the nominator User:Kathyrncelestewright has been indefinitely blocked from Wikipedia. Jezhotwells (talk) 13:13, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

I've removed the GAN banner as it's been a while and no one has agreed to resolve issues brought up during the review. Mm40 (talk) 19:58, 29 November 2009 (UTC)

File:The Emperor's New Clothes DSC09958.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

Image-x-generic.svg An image used in this article, File:The Emperor's New Clothes DSC09958.jpg, has been nominated for deletion at Wikimedia Commons in the following category: Deletion requests October 2011
What should I do?

Don't panic; a discussion will now take place over on Commons about whether to remove the file. This gives you an opportunity to contest the deletion, although please review Commons guidelines before doing so.

  • If the image is non-free then you may need to upload it to Wikipedia (Commons does not allow fair use)
  • If the image isn't freely licensed and there is no fair use rationale then it cannot be uploaded or used.

This notification is provided by a Bot --CommonsNotificationBot (talk) 14:58, 23 October 2011 (UTC)