“Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” The fairy tale on the couch
Ever since its very beginning, psychoanalysis has allowed itself to be inspired by knowledge supposedly present in (pre)literary genres like myths and fairy tales. However, with time, the tables were turned and its theories were systematically and rigorously applied to every story to hand, including the fairy tale. After Freud set an example in 1913 with two of his articles, Freudians and Jungians alike became convinced they could use psychoanalytic theory to penetrate the true heart of the tale. For a long time, the elaborate interpretations made by Bruno Bettelheim and Marie-Louize Von Franz were quite influential. But although their orthodox methods have indeed made a considerable contribution to our understanding of the fairy tale, they are nonetheless flawed on various levels. Therefore, it may be time to search for new ways to approach the fairy tale from a psychoanalytic perspective, for instance, in collaboration with socio-historicism or indeed by a purposeful exploration of Lacanian theory.