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Book Information: Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales

Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales (2009) [Collection]
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Summary (From the publisher):

Kurt Schwitters revolutionized the art world in the 1920s with his Dadaist Merz collages, theater performances, and poetry. But at the same time he was also writing extraordinary fairy tales that were turning the genre upside down and inside out. Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales is the first collection of these subversive, little-known stories in any language and the first time all but a few of them have appeared in English. Translated and introduced by Jack Zipes, one of the world's leading authorities on fairy tales, this book gathers thirty-two stories written between 1925 and Schwitters's death in 1948--including a complete English-language recreation of The Scarecrow, a children's book illustrated with avant-garde typography that Schwitters created with Kate Steinitz and De Stijl founder Theo van Doesburg. Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales also includes brilliant new illustrations that evoke the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.

Schwitters wrote these darkly humorous, satirical, and surreal tales at a time when traditional German fairy tales were being co-opted by the Nazis. Filled with sharp critiques of German life during the Weimar and early Nazi eras, Schwitters's tales are rich with absurdist events and insist that not everyone--and perhaps not anyone--lives happily ever after. In "Lucky Hans," the starving protagonist tries to catch a rabbit only to have it shed its fur like a coat and run off naked into the forest. In other tales, a sarcastic gypsy stands in for a fairy godmother and an army recruit is arrested for growing to monstrous size.


  • Tales Written in German
    • The Swineherd and the Great, Illustrious Writer
    • Lucky Hans
    • Happiness
    • The Little Clock Spirit and the Lovers
    • The Proud Young Woman
    • An Old Fairy Tale
    • The Scarecrow (A children's book created with Kate Steinitz and Theo van Doesburg)
    • He
    • Fish and Man
    • The Squinting Doll
    • Three Suitcases
    • Fairy Tale
    • A King without People
    • The Story about the Good Man
    • Happy Country
    • The Story about the Rabbit
    • The Three Wishes
    • The Ugly Young Woman: A Fairy Tale
    • The Two Brothers
    • The Fish and the Ship's Propeller
    • Transformations
    • He Who Is Mentally Retarded
    • Hans and Grete: A Fairy Tale about Children Who Live in the Woods
    • The Fairy Tale about Happiness
    • Normal Insanity
    • What Is Happiness
    • The Man with the Glass Nose
    • Once upon a Time There Was a Tiny Mouse
  • Tales Written in English
    • The Flat and the Round Painter
    • London: A Fairy Tale
    • The Flying Fish
    • Twopenny Novel about an Ugly Girl
  • Appendix: German Version of "Die Scheuche"

Original title: Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales
Original languages: German


Genre: Fairy Tales & FolkloreReinterpretations
FictionGeneral FictionLiterary Fiction/classicsPost-modern, Avant-garde, & Experimental

The following works are contained within this one:
     Three Wishes, the (1925) [Short Story]
      Author: Kurt Schwitters

Edition #1: Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales

Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales (2009)
Edition Details:

Language: English

Translated by: Jack Zipes
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Manifested in:

Lucky Hans and Other Merz Fairy Tales (March 22, 2009)

Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 9780691139678
Dimensions: 5.4 x 7.8 x 1.1 in
Pages: 248

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