Maria Tatar is the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and Folklore and Mythology at Harvard University. She chairs the Program in Folklore and Mythology.  Visit her homepage at http://people.fas.harvard.edu/~tatar/Maria_Tatar/Publications.html

31 thoughts on “About

  1. I will follow up on Prof Griswold’s comments regarding Lois Lowry and her being the precursor for Hunger Games and all that has followed. I will publish in my monthly Barking Planet blog –regarding children’s literature and movies, therapy reading dogs and related matters.
    Thanks for this interview.
    Robert McCarty
    Barking Planet Productions

  2. Hello Maria,

    Apologies if this email is sent to the wrong address I was unsure as where to contact you.
    My name is Adam Townsend and I am a student at the University of Salford studying Television and Radio and I am working on a project proposal for Woman’s Hour, a radio programme on BBC Radio 4. This is a completely hypothetical proposal but I was wondering if I could feature you as a contributor in the programme’s content which would be looking at the effect of storytelling on children, most notably the early influences of culture from the Brother Grimm fairy tales.

    Thank you for your time,
    Kind Regards,
    Adam Townsend

  3. Dear Prof. Tatar:
    I was wondering if I could interest you in my memoir, “An Unsuitable Princess: A True Fantasy/A Fantastical Memoir” (Jaded Ibis Press 2014), which combines my autobiography with a fairy tale. I would be happy to send you a hard copy or provide you with an electronic one. The book is not so much about me as it is about how we construct our daydreams out of tried-and-true folklore. Thank you for your work and I hope we can speak (virtually if need be) soon.
    Jane Rosenberg LaForge
    More information on the book, with reviews, available here: http://jadedibisproductions.com/jane-rosenberg-laforge/

  4. Hello Maria,
    I recently purchased The Turnip Princess and was disappointed to discover that the story described in reviews as, ‘Cinderella using her golden slippers to recover her lover from beyond the moon’ is not included. The nearest I could find was ‘The Burning Trough’ where a girl shares a slipper with the sun. Do you know where I might find the Cinderella ‘beyond the moon’ one? I would be happy to purchase it, just don’t know where to find it. I don’t speak German.
    Thank you very much for your help.

  5. Hi Maria,
    I live in Tasmania Australia and have an MA in Creative Writing. My love has always been fairy tales and I have collected a number of your books over the years. I would love to keep studying by doing another degree in fairy tales, folk law and mythology and wondered if you do an online course? If not do you know of any course at either a US University or a UK University. Many thanks, Carlene

  6. Hi Carlene, Thanks for your message. I’m not aware of any online courses, but I’ll keep an eye out for them and post it if/when I find one. Sending all best and good luck with your studies, Maria

  7. I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site.
    I am hoping to check out the same high-grade blog posts
    from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own website now 😉

  8. Any change you remember that I worked for you in the early 90s as a research assistant, translating Grimms’ fairy tales. I’m so glad to see that you’re successful. I enjoyed my short time at Harvard.


  9. Thank you for your work in the depths of messages imparted to children via literature. My mission is to study, work, act and find the new way (for I know there is one) to deliver “tales” to this earthen, watery, airy, light-and-dark planet.

  10. Professor Tatar,

    This fall I will be leading a course on fairy tales for a group from the Harvard Institute for Learning in Retirement. We will read and discuss a mix of international fairy tales. Students will also listen to a podcast in which you are featured. Is there any possibility that you will be giving an open lecture in Cambridge this fall? I believe class members would love to attend.

  11. Just Released! Fairy Tales of the Fiercer Sex – selected and read by award winning audiobook narrator Alison Larkin.

    Hello Maria,

    I’m contacting you to offer a complimentary review copy of our newest release: FairyTales of the Fiercer Sex!

    Hailed by the Times as “hugely entertaining,” award-winning narrator Alison Larkin selects fairytales of strong, brave, independent, at times irreverent girls and women who take charge of their lives, go on their own adventures, rescue themselves and sometimes even save the men they love.
    These are not stories of helpless females shut up in high towers waiting around for a handsome man to rescue them while they sleep for years or brush their golden hair a lot. These heroines have far more to distinguish them than the fact that they (sometimes) end up married to a prince.

    Brought to you by the highly-acclaimed audiobook company that brought you the AudioFile Magazine Earphones Award-winning Peter Pan and The Inconsiderate Waiter by J M Barrie, the fan favorite Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, and the first-ever fantasy novel for children: The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald!

    We wondered if you would be interested featuring or reviewing our new release? If so we would be delighted to send you a review copy and/or a link showing your readers or students how to get the Fairytales of the Fiercer Sex audiobook download for FREE!

    If you would be interested in receiving a review copy of this or any other audiobook from Alison Larkin Presents, please let me know your preferred email address and I’ll gift you a copy of the audiobook ASAP.

    Also, we’d love to connect with you on social media and let our listeners know about your blog!

    Our Facebook page is here. Our Instagram handle is @alisonlarkinpresents . Our Twitter handle is @alisonlarkinTEA . Our good reads profile is here.

    Thanks so very much,

    Gail Shalan
    Director of Sales and Marketing
    Alison Larkin Presents…

  12. Hi, thanks for your message. Yes, sure, I’d love to take a listen and hope I can be helpful. All best, Maria Tatar

  13. Hello Maria,

    This may seem a little out of nowhere, but I am writing a school research paper on classic and modern fairytales and folklore what we in the 21st century can learn from them. And I was wondering if you would like to answer some questions somewhere this up coming schoolyear.

    I hope to hear from you soon,
    Puck van Gendt (17)
    Leidsche Rijn College
    The Netherlands

  14. Hi Puck, Happy to learn about your research for the coming year. I would suggest that you take a look at the new edition of my CLASSIC FAIRY TALES or Marina Warner’s ONCE UPON A TIME, along with any books by Jack Zipes. You will quickly find many sources. If you have a specific question about my work, let me know. Good luck with your project, all best, Maria Tatar

  15. Hello once again,

    Last June I posted here regarding my school research paper on fairy tales. Since then I have had the chance perfectionate my subject: The evolution of the function of fairy tales since the Middle ages. I want to thank you for providing some usefull sources, some harder to find in The Netherlands than others.
    I would very much appreciate it if you could find the time to anwser some general questions regarding the subject.

    Questionnaire: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdvgwSZDkRoJUhZmQPbS4dP0Id9_YkGkL5uCw-77xhsm25dnQ/viewform?usp=sf_link

    Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing from you,
    Puck van Gendt (17)
    Leidsche Rijn College
    The Netherlands

  16. The evolution of the function of fairy tales since the Middle ages. I want to thank you for providing some usefull sources, some harder to find in The Netherlands than others.
    I would very much appreciate it if you could find the time to anwser some general questions regarding the subject.

    Questionnaire: Click here

    Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing from you,
    Puck van Gendt (17)
    Leidsche Rijn College
    The Netherlands


  17. This may appear somewhat all of a sudden, yet I am composing a school look into the paper on great and present-day fantasies and old stories what we in the 21st century can gain from them. What’s more, I was thinking about whether you might want to answer a few inquiries someplace this upcoming school year.

    I want to get notification from you soon,

    Puck van Gendt (17)

    Leidsche Rijn College

    The Netherlands

  18. Hello, Maria,
    I’m sorry to post here but I couldn’t find any other way to contact you. I’m Molly Likovich, a documentarian, and writer, I run a series online (& at my local public access channel) called Hidden History, all about the hidden stories behind some of the world’s most famous stories, and my next episode is on Little Red Riding Hood. I’ve followed your work for awhile, and was wondering if you’d consider being one of the guests interviewed for the documentary. I’ve attached a link to the most recent episode of the show to give you an understanding of the production.

    Molly Likovich

  19. Dear Ms. Tatar —
    A treat discovering you today via NYT and this blog. I’ve long heard of Campbell’s book on heroes and will find it on eBay today.
    Your question on heroines as heroes rang my bell early. I wish we could talk on this, but in the meantime, I’d be grateful if you’d accept my ms, LEGENDS OF THE STREAM, an account of a vindictively maligned woman in the Florida Keys, 1841. She actually lived, then disappeared from the arc of history when her husband died at sea and their island was burned in the Seminole wars (all true: see Indian Key; Capt. Jacob Housman). As a forty year resident of the Keys, a boatbuilder and writer (WoodenBoat Magazine), a senior instructor at Outward Bound Sea School (Maine), a sailor and story-teller, I did three years research after a lifetime of reading experience and spent three years writing the fictitious life story of Housman’s widow, Elizabeth Ann, as I’ve always believed her legacy was besmirched by the jealous status quo in Key West, the richest city per capita in the US in those ante-bellum days (via “wrecking” or salvage). Elizabeth Ann has become my literary lover for seven years now, and I’ve penned a powerful tale based on historical accuracy, my own love of history and it’s heroes, and my years of experience on the water.
    The book got nothing but refusals from over 70 NYC agents. They wouldn’t read past my query letter, and I’ve given up. (“Sounds interesting, but not for us — Good Luck!”) But my Elizabeth is a Modern AND Historical Heroine — she lives a life of family and adventure between her birthplace on the Outer Banks of NC to Key West and Cuba during their own war for independence versus Spain, and because she’s of distant First Nation blood, and was raised among the enslaved and freed men of the Outer Banks (pilots on treacherous inlets, revered by whites and blacks — all true), she transcends hypocrisy and racism while excelling in aquatic skills that carry her throughout life (like the female instructors I’ve know at Outward Bound.
    I think you might find her a compelling heroine, and I’d be delighted to attach a MS WORD MS to an appropriate address.

  20. Hello and thanks for your message. Your project of reconstructing the life of Elizabeth Ann Houseman sounds great , and I don’t mean to echo those agents. I’ve had no luck pitching books from other writers to my own editors, so it’s best just to keep at it yourself, maybe by writing directly to presses instead with a sample chapter. The book is clearly a passion project for you, and I feel sure it will see the light of day in one way or another. Sending all best, Maria

  21. Greetings Ms. Tatar!
    As a fan of Joseph Campbell I am intrigued and gratified that someone has finally written “The Heroine With a 1001 Faces!!!” I look forward to reading it. I happened to come across your page online. Have you been interviewed on PBS yet? Michele Martin is an excellent interviewer. By the way, have you ever read “Medusa’s Tale” by Carol Lashof? (A one act play retelling the Medusa story from Medusa’s perspective)

  22. Thanks for your message. I was just reading up on Medusa today and was planning a post about her. I’ll try to find Lashof’s play–the on-line synopsis is intriguing. Does she use Scheherazade’s strategies?

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