A discussion on to what extent Ludwig Tieck’s short story ‘Der blonde Eckbert’ can be considered a reflection of a traditional folk tale.
I will begin by considering the structural similarities to what certain anthropologists consider the traditional structure of a folk tale, concentrating on Axel Olrik’s ‘Epic Laws’ of folk narrative.
I will then discuss the deviations from these epic laws, such as the story’s lack of a linear structure and the first person narrative. I will consider deviations from the typical content of a fairy tale, including the philosophical, self-reflexive and psychological elements.
I will discuss the dualistic nature of the story, i.e. how it appears on one level to be a typical folk tale, and on another a psychological, modern tale. I will recount Paul Klussman’s theory on why these two interpretations cannot be separated, and how the protagonist’s madness cannot explain the fairy tale aspects of the story.
I will conclude that ‘der blonde Eckbert’ is a literary fairy tale, as it is based on the fairy tale structure but with modern, psychological elements which make it incompatible with the traditional folk tale.