Time and Place of Snow White

14th February, 2011 - Posted by DisAnim - Comments Off on Time and Place of Snow White

Snow White is a hard one to place both chronologically or spatially. There are no direct references at all. At first look, it would appear that the only thing that can be positively surmised is that the story takes place in medieval Europe. Different elements draw very strongly on this, such as the castle. There are, however, some indirect clues which lead me to my conclusions. Of course, not everything matches up correctly, but Walt Disney was not focused on such things. He was concerned with entertainment.

I place the time at about 1550. Initially this was because it coincides with the life of Margaret von Waldeck, the woman whom some have identified as the possible real-life inspiration for the original folktale. But there were several other indicators. For example, Snow White’s trademark dress is very distinguished with its puffy sleeves and high collar. This was somewhat beginning to be the fashion in the 16th century.

I place the location in Bavaria, Germany. There are a few superficial clues for this. For example, the name Margaret von Waldeck surfaces again. And the Brothers Grimm were Germans. But the folktale itself is not exclusively German, even if the Grimm version was. There are a few, more significant identifiers. Dwarfs, for instance, are found in stories that originated in Germany. The music is a special clue: yodeling has German roots, and three of the principal instruments from the dancing scene passed through Germany (lute, organ, accordion), and one of them originated there.

What do you think? Am I close, or did I completely miss the mark?

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