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Professor Jack Zipes

Jack Zipes

Areas of Interest


Honorary Award

Honorary Doctor of Arts


Jack Zipes is an American academic, author, teacher, and former Leverhulme Visiting Professor at Anglia Ruskin University. He is widely recognised as one of the world’s foremost scholars of children’s literature.

Jack graduated from Dartmouth College in 1959 with a BA in Political Science. The following year, he completed his MA in English and Comparative Literature, then moved to Germany to study at the University of Munich and the University of Tübingen.

His European experience and new-found knowledge of German, French, Italian and Spanish opened up new literary worlds to Jack, prompting him to return to Columbia University to complete a PhD in Comparative Literature in 1965.

Jack’s political activism in the late 60s led him to a critical examination of fairy tales – a theme that he was to continue to explore throughout the rest of his career.

From 1967 to 1989 Jack taught at universities in New York, Wisconsin and Florida, before being appointed Professor of German at the University of Minnesota, where he remained until retiring in 2008.

Jack has been a prolific researcher and writer, authoring a total of 25 books, along with 10 edited studies. Some of his books are:

Breaking the Magic Spell - Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tales, published in 1979.

Happily Ever After - Fairy Tales, Children and the Culture Industry, published in 1997.

And… Why Fairy Tales Stick - The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre, published in 2006.

Other notable works include The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales, the complete 1857 edition of the fairy tales of the brothers Grimm, and The Norton Anthology of Children's Literature.

Jack has been an active storyteller, working with children's theatres across Europe and the US, most notably with the Neighbourhood Bridges project in his home city of Minneapolis. 

In 2013, Jack came to Anglia Ruskin University as Leverhulme Visiting Professor. During his time here, he made enormous contributions to the intellectual and cultural life of our University – giving talks and contributing to seminars; leading public events for the Festival of Ideas; curating and introducing screenings of fairy tale films at the Arts Picturehouse; and undertaking outreach projects at local schools, on behalf of the University.

Jack has supported creativity and research within our University in numerous thoughtful and practical ways – one example is that he commissioned illustrations from students of the Cambridge School of Art for his book The Golden Age of Fairytales.

And thanks to his remarkable talent, experience and enthusiasm, Professor Zipes greatly enhanced the research environment at Anglia Ruskin during his time with us, inspiring staff and students alike.

Find out more

Twitter - @Zipes

Jack's graduation

You will be able to watch all our ceremonies live, including this ceremony, on the following link:

Watch our 2016 graduation ceremonies