Jack David Zipes (born June 7, 1937) is a professor emeritus of German, comparative literature, and cultural studies, who has published and lectured on German literature, critical theory, German Jewish culture, children's literature, and folklore. In the latter part of his career he translated two major editions of the tales of the Brothers Grimm and focused on fairy tales, their evolution, and their social and political role in civilizing processes.

According to Zipes, fairy tales "serve a meaningful social function, not just for compensation but for revelation: the worlds projected by the best of our fairy tales reveal the gaps between truth and falsehood in our immediate society".[1] His arguments are avowedly based on the critical theory of the Frankfurt School and more recently theories of cultural evolution.

Education and positions

Jack David Zipes was born on June 7, 1937, in New York City, to Celia (Rifkin) and Phillip P. Zipes.[2] He received a BA in political science from Dartmouth College in 1959 and an MA in English and comparative literature at Columbia University in 1960. From there, Zipes studied at the University of Munich in 1962 and the University of Tübingen in 1963. He earned his PhD in comparative literature (with a dissertation on the Romantic hero in German and American literature) from Columbia in 1965. It was published as a book, The Great Refusal: Studies of the Romantic Hero in German and American Literature in 1970 and was influenced by the works of Herbert Marcuse.

After teaching American literature at the University of Munich (1966-1967), Zipes taught German literature and drama, comparative folklore and literary theory (specializing in the Frankfurt School) at New York University (1967-1972), the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee (1972-1986) and the University of Florida (1986-1989) before moving to the department of German, Scandinavian, and Dutch at the University of Minnesota, where he was department chair (1994-1998) and is currently professor emeritus of German.[3]

While teaching at the University of Minnesota, he founded and directed Neighborhood Bridges at the Children's Theater Company, a nationally and internationally acclaimed storytelling program for children, from 1997 to 2008. In addition, he co-founded the prominent journal of German studies, New German Critique, in 1972 and wrote or edited numerous essays for this journal until 1987. While at the University of Minnesota, he also became the director of the Center for German and European Studies, established with aid from the German cultural institute DAAD. He has also held notable visiting professorships in the theater department of the Free University of Berlin (1978-1979), the German department of Columbia University (1984).[4][5] the Institute for Children's literature at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main (1981–82), and in the English Department of Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge (2013). He translated the complete 1857 edition of fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm in 1987, and in 2014, he published the first edition of 1812 and 1815 as The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm along with a new study of the tales, Grimm Legacies: The Magic Power of the Grimms' Folk and Fairy Tales.

During his retirement in 2008, he established a major series of literary fairy tales with Princeton University Press called Oddly Modern Fairy Tales. This series is ongoing and includes works by Kurt Schwitters, Naomi Mitchiison, Lafcadio Hearn, and Edouard Laboulaye, edited by writers such as Philip Pullman, Marina Warner, and Michael Rosen.

In 2018, Zipes founded the publishing house Little Mole and Honey Bear,[6] which publishes unusual books for children and adults largely produced from 1910 to 1940. These books, such as Christian Baermann's The Giant Ohl and Tiny Tim (2018) and Paul Valliant-Couturier's Johnny Breadless (2019), celebrate the poetic power of fantasy and illustrate how writers and artists have used their art to generate hope in their readers.

Awards and honors

Selected bibliography

For a more complete list (including creative writing) see Zipes' biography on the website of his publishing house.[10]


Translated into Chinese:



  1. ^ Zipes, Jack (1999). When Dreams Came True: Classical Fairy Tales and Their Tradition. Routledge. p. 29. ISBN 0-415-92150-3. OCLC 38870622.
  2. ^ Evory, Ann; Metzger, Linda, eds. (1983). Contemporary Authors. new revision series. Vol. 9. Gale. p. 548. ISBN 0-8103-1938-1. ISSN 0275-7176. OCLC 650172730.
  3. ^ "Jack Zipes, a scholar of fairy tales, has two Brothers Grimm books out". 27 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Faculty". Cla.umn.edu. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-06-17. Retrieved 2017-06-24.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Our Mission". Little Mole & Honey Bear. Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  7. ^ "Jack Zipes". Fulbright.
  8. ^ "John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation".
  9. ^ "2019 World Fantasy Awards Finalists". Locus Online. 25 July 2019.
  10. ^ "Our Founder". Little Mole & Honey Bear. Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  11. ^ "The Golden Age of Fairy Tales: From the Brother Grimm to Andrew Lang". Archived from the original on 2014-08-19. Retrieved 2014-08-19.