My research and enquiry into Little Red Riding Hood has proved in a very short time to be a path with multiple destinations, dead ends and deviations, which has added to the fun and interest.
This blog has given me the space to really focus my research and practice in this subject. I have explored the literary history which is fascinating in terms of the social, economic, political and personal circumstances of Charles Perrault and Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, but also the storytellers, singers and culture that gave them the oral versions of folk tales.
The research has led to my discovery of the work of many folklorists and academics particularly Jack Zipes and Alan Dundes whose life's work has often been dedicated to discovering and discussing the origins, evolution and interpretations of these tales and their influence and reflection of our culture.
The subject of Little Red Riding Hood is compelling due to its continuing re-evaluation, evolution and interpretation up to present day. From its oratory origins, through its literary stabilization and anchorage in the 17th and 18th century through to its pictorial interpretation which extends and adapts the story, it's meaning and continuing relevance, through genres of illustration, photography, animation and film to name a few.
I did not want my study to be a dry and wordy examination of the subject as I am an artist and illustrator and it is the imagery of this subject that drives my research and interest.
Therefore I have attempted to layer the more heavy research articles, history and insights among introductions, interviews and articles on illustration, contemporary and historic.
Often there is very little information on illustrators and their work. I have attempted to address this by requesting statements from contemporary illustrators about their engagement with this story and insights to their approach and relationship with the story. The illustrators are from all over the world and sometimes they have given very thoughtful detailed responses and other times just tiny insights but they all add to the richness of the subject as well as to the contemporary relevance of the research.
As I intend to proceed with this blog beyond the requirements of my studies, I have allowed myself to explore odd paths such as the story of Dorothea Viehmann (story teller to the Grimms). More for the joy of discovering and sharing her story than it's relevance to Little Red as it is doubtful that she supplied the Grimms with this tale.
I have where possible labeled posts with the date of the illustrations, so that a time line will evolve as my work progresses. I have many posts in draft form awaiting further information, either directly from the artist or from further research or resourcing through books.
I look forward to consolidating these as I progress.
As far as my practice I think that the research has fed my ideas and passion for the subject immensely and I look forward to continuing my research, building a resource and further crafting my own interpretations.