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The fairy tale is arguably one of the most important cultural and social influences on children's lives. But until the first publication of Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion, little attention had been paid to the ways in which the writers and collectors of tales used traditional forms and genres in order to shape children's lives - their behavior, values, and relationship to society. As Jack Zipes convincingly shows in this classic work, fairy tales have always been a powerful discourse, capable of being used to shape or destabilize attitudes and behavior within culture. How and why did certain authors try to influence children or social images of children? How were fairy tales shaped by the changes in European society in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? Zipes examines famous writers of fairy tales such as Charles Perrault, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen and L.Frank Baum and considers the extraordinary impact of Walt Disney on the genre as a fairy tale filmmaker.