Intro to Lit: Literary History

Course Description

Fairy tales are all around us. They can be found in the bedtime stories told to children. They can be seen in films playing in movie theaters, in a variety of games played both physically and digitally, and in comics read during our free time. Who were these fairy tales written for? What were the purposes of these fairy tales? How were these tales utilized within their cultural context? In this writing intensive course, we will explore the many worlds, stories, and historical circumstances of fairy tales in hope to answer these questions. We will question and learn how the fairy tale genre and its numerous social uses has developed and transformed throughout the ages.

We will start from the very beginning of the fairy tale and consider the basics of the fairy tale genre through lectures and readings. We will cover a range of vocabulary and tropes as we explore stories from the 16th-century to contemporary narratives. You will be able to use your fairy tale knowledge as you continue to read multiple fairy-tale texts throughout the semester, and further foster an understanding of the genre. We will be reading, analyzing, and writing about a variety of classic fairy tales, ranging from Little Red Riding Hood tales to Bluebeard stories, and then broadening our scope and looking at how the fairy tale genre has developed through adaptions in different mediums, including 1930’s cartoons to modern video game. Through our discussion of fairy tales in our class, some issues we might discuss include gender, race, sexuality, culture, family, class, etc.

Assignments

By the end of the semester, you will have produced:

  • 2 Reading Responses and Discussion questions for the class.
  • A Compare and Contrast Essay + Visual Graphic Representation
  • A Close Reading Group Presentation
  • A Creative Adaptation + Rhetorical Justification
  • A Critical Analysis Paper

In total, you will have produced at least 4,000 words of finished prose, thereby completing the WI requirement.

Required Texts/Applications

  1. Marvelous Transformations: An Anthology of Fairy Tales and Contemporary Critical Perspectives Edited by Christine A. Jones & Jennifer Schacker
  2. The Wolf Among Us on Steam
  3. Netflix Account Accessibility
  4. Supplementary readings, videos, and fiction will be posted on Laulima in Resources or on SurLaLune, or Folklore on Pitt.edu