The “fairy tale”
is a genre we may think we know from childhood memories, but this course is an
introduction to its history and multiple social uses, of which the Disneyfied
fairy tale is only a recent episode. With the adaptation of oral tales of magic
into print, especially from the XVII century on, fairy tales became established
as a western modern literary genre that continues to be popular across national
boundaries. In these different contexts, fairy tales have offered an
imaginative outlet for desire and change while also performing socializing
functions. How has a story like “Rapunzel” or “Puss in Boots” changed over the
centuries? When did fairy tales become bedtime stories for children? What is
the role of the Arabian Nights in the development of the fairy-tale genre? Is
“happily ever after” the signature mark of this genre? How do fairy tales
enchant us? These are some of the questions we will explore while reading a
wide range of tales that may break some “magic spells” but also enliven our
capacity for wonder in new ways.
assignments include an oral presentation, quizzes, several short papers, a
midterm, and a final examination. Attendance is mandatory.
Jack Zipes, editor, THE GREAT FAIRY TALE TRADITION; Emma
Donoghue, KISSING THE WITCH; THE ARABIAN NIGHTS (Norton Critical ed.
2008)Husain Haddawy trans; at least two fairy-tale films.