The week in Culture

Culture vultures strike gold this week with literature’s buried secrets and enchanting fairy tales, whilst art steals the headlines


Sealed an archive for over a century and a half, five hundred enchanting fairytales have been brought back to life in Germany. Featuring wicked witches and beautiful princesses, and with danger scattered through their pages, these tales cast spells over their readers. Following in the footsteps of fairytale-magpies Brothers Grimm, archivist Franz Xaver von Schönwerth also collected tales from mouths of ordinary people, before committing them to paper. Spinning tales, Aus der Oberpfalz – Sitten und Sagen, newly published by Erika Eichenseer, contains his stories taken down in the first half of the nineteenth century. Whilst it contains versions of the magical stories familiar to us, such as Cinderella and Rumpelstiltskin, many are unique to the archivist’s collection. Buried away for 150 years, an upcoming English translation of the rare fairy tales can continue to charm readers.


A Yorkshire tale

Fairytales have long been deeply connected to art, with each inspiring creativity in the other. David Hockney, an artist drawn to these fantastic literary creations, is no exception. Having illustrated the tales of the Brothers Grimm over three decades ago, his original lithographs, prints, and engravings will go on display in Yorkshire this August in Scarborough’s Woodend Gallery. Already exhibiting A Bigger Picture in London, which draws on the wild northern landscape, this will bring the spellbinding work of its artist back to his current Yorkshire home.

Buried literary gold

Another literary treasure unearthed from the archives this week is the account of Charles Pick, who died in 2000. A fascinating literary hoard has been drawn from seven decades of Pick’s interviews, diaries, photographs, and letters. A publisher, who began the trend of in-store book-signings, Pick had on his books the names of writers John Le Carré, John Steinbeck, Roald Dahl, Monica Dickens (Charles Dickens’s great granddaughter), and many, many more. A literary insider, these memoirs candidly reveal why Charles Pick found some twentieth-century authors to be more like spoilt stars, his frank opinion on Wallis Simpson and Churchill, and why he once tried to sell George Orwell his own book. In one instance, Pick seized the opportunity to sign Dahl on a ferry crossing. Offering a new perspective on the C20th book world, the archive is now on display at the University of East Anglia.

Making Headlines

It the art world, London’s three White Cube galleries are hosting a new exhibition entitled London Pictures. To create their ‘faithful portrait’ of London, oddball artists Gilbert & George stole the headlines - 3,712 of them, to be precise. Featuring almost 300 pictures, this series, which features newspaper bills, is the most mammoth ever to be created by the arty duo. Split into themes, the lurid, attention-grabbing headlines tell a story of the capital’s news over the past six years. Hitting the headlines, the stark exhibition invites viewers to celebrate London and the free presses, whilst re-evaluating the language of the news itself, and our reception of it.

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