blàr anam [25]

“Another innovation by the Brothers Grimm is the three color combination characterizing their heroine. While white, or white and red, very often occur as colours signifying beauty, and hair, if mentioned, is usually golden, the Grimms found, in the second variant of their tale material, a combination of white, red and black in the form of snow, blood and ravens – an image of very ill omen, a foreboding of death, which they also knew from Basile’s Cuorvo (Pentamerone 4,9) and medieval Celtic literature; accordingly, in the manuscript, Jacob had called the heroine a ‘child of bad luck’ (Unglückskind). However, they blurred the baleful connotations right from the start, in the manuscript version, where the frame of ebony is substituted for the ravens, thus creating the image of a new prototypical beauty type of tale heroines which was immediately accepted by the public and continues to be successful up to this day.”
–Christine Shojaei Kawan, “A Brief Literary History of Snow White”

“The Queen’s wish is interesting from a number of perspectives, but it is especially evocative of the color symbolism of alchemy which stresses the triune initiatory scheme of nigredoalbedorubedo (the black, white, and red) or a transformation of man and matter that involves a movement through death, purification, and rebirth. This is the ‘great work’ which is accomplished through the mysterious refining heat of fire (the red) by which the dualities of matter must suffer and die in order to be made whole. To become a whole person in body, spirit, and soul, man also requires the purgation of fire and the elixir of blood. The counterpoint of alchemical symbolism that I allude to throughout this interpretation is not meant to suggest that Snow White is somehow an alchemical story or specifically harbors an occult level of meaning. My intention is simply to draw attention to the comparative significance of alchemical symbolism as representative of another tradition which is clearly focused on initiatory themes.”
–N. J. Girardot, “Initiation and Meaning in the Tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”

“The central symbol, the swastika, had been around for some time in Austria and southern Germany as an emblem of right-wing politics and anti-Semitism. Although not the first to propose it as a party sign, [Hitler] secured its adoption and turned it into a preeminent icon of anti-Semitism. It was he who determined that it should face right rather than left and who ordained its colours. Colour, an art critic has observed, has a hot line to instinct. As such it can be used to demagogic effect, and so it was in his stark use of black, white and red. The red, which had to be blood red, was, he said, ‘to speak to the working masses’ – in other words he hijacked it from the left. As he later wrote in Mein Kampf, ‘In red we see the social idea of the movement, in white the nationalistic idea, in the swastika…the victory of the Aryan man, and, by the same token, the victory of creative work, which as such has always been and will always be anti-Semitic’. The black swastika inside a white disc against a red background was not only eye-catching but also had a potent subconscious effect. ‘An uncanny power emanated from the mysterious sign’, wrote one biographer; it radiated ‘psychological magic’, according to another.”
–Frederic Spotts, Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics

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