In my course on fairy tales and fantasy literature, we had a session on “Little Red Riding Hood.” I contrasted Dickens’ love of the girl in red ( “Little Red Riding Hood was my first love. I felt that if I could have married Little Red Riding Hood, I should have known perfect bliss.”) with the anxieties of Freud’s Wolf Man (Sergei Pankejeff), who read the story as a child. The Wolf Man, as Freud tells us, was haunted by a dream about wolves, creatures connected with the predator in “Little Red Riding Hood”:
He had always connected this dream with the recollection that during those years of his childhood he was most tremendously afraid of the picture of a wolf in a book of fairy tales. His elder sister, who was very much his superior, used to tease him by holding up this particular picture in front of him so that he was terrified and began to scream. In this picture the wolf was standing upright, striding out with one foot, with its claws stretched out and its ears pricked. He thought this picture must have been an illustration to the story of Little Red Riding Hood.
I have always been on the lookout for that illustration, and I’m wondering if it might not be the one above. I had always pictured the Wolf Man’s creature as full frontal, but now I realize that the description fits Dore’s illustration, even if the wolf has its back turned to us.
Any other candidates?
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