Sr Hons Tutorial (21C Fairy Tale)

What to make of the numerous and wide-ranging fairy-tale adaptations in contemporaryand specifically 21st-century
literature and film? More pointedly, what has changed in fairy-tale literature
since the early 1970s when North American feminists argued vehemently about the
value of fairy tales in the shaping of gendered attitudes about self, romance,
marriage, family, and social power? This
course, subtitled “Ideologies of Magic, Enchantment, and Wonder,” explores (a)
how fairy tales are harnessed to produce competing conceptions of enchantment,
wonder, and magic in recent English-language fiction for adults and young
adults; and (b) how 21st-century fairy-tale films (Disney’s
included) are playing out critiques of Disney’s fairy tales to varying effects
and mixing with other genres (e.g., horror and historical drama).

we will be working with different understandings of ideology as they apply to
the fairy tale. We will focus on how each adaptation twists fairy-tale metaphors and
plots in ways that stage locatedpossibilities for negotiating
imaginatively with social scripts, desire, and otherness. We will reflect on today’s hegemonic uses of the fairy tale,
focusing in particular on how the fairy-tale alliance of fantasy and romance
“sells.” But even when one version or understanding of the fairy tale prevails
in people’s consciousness, in order to make their magic “work” in practice,
tellers, writers, and producers of fairy tales necessarily engage in
intertextual conversation and/or struggle with one another. Thus, we will also
investigate how other 21st-century adaptations are activating the
fairy tale’s utopian spark.


Emma Donoghue, Kissing The Witch(collection of short
stories, 1997); Robert Coover, Stepmother
(novel 2004); Byrony Lavery and Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber (2009 adaptation for the stage of Carter’s 1979
short story); Bill Willingham, Fables: Legends in Exile(2002, 1st volume of comics
series); My Mother She Killed Me,
My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales
, edited byKate Bernheimer (Penguin 2010; it includes stories by Aimee
Bender, Francesca Lia Block, Neil Gaiman, Kelly Link, Joyce Carol Oates, Joy
Williams). Books will be available at Revolution Books. A pdf course reader
will include selections from Nalo Hopkinson’s Skin Folk, Neil Gaiman’s Fragile
, and Kelly Link’s Magic for

FILMS: Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs(1937), Enchanted(2007), and Entangled (2010); DreamWorks’ Shrek (2001) and its sequels; Guillermo
del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006); Pil-Sung Yim and Yim
Phil-Sung’s Hansel & Gretel(2007);David Kaplan’s The Year of the Fish (2007); Catherine Breillat’s Bluebeard (2009), Catherine Hardwicke’s Red Riding Hood (2011).

Critical essays:
FAIRY-TALE FILMS: VISIONS OF AMBIGUITY, edited by Pauline Greenhill and Sidney
Eve Matrix (2010). We will also be reading essays in Marvels
& Tales: Journal of Fairy Tale Studies
, which is available online
through Project MUSE (see Hamilton Library electronic resources).


4 reaction papers with critical questions & comments  (at least 1 page each);

a collaborative presentation focusing on a fairy-tale film;

10-page final essay with a significant research component (research
would include locating multiple pre-texts or versions of a fairy tale as well
as critical essays).