The Fairy Tale

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 different contexts and over time, fairy tales have offered an
imaginative outlet for desire and change while also performing socializing
functions that emplot our lives. How has a story like “Rapunzel” or “Puss in
Boots” changed over the centuries? Is “happily ever after” the signature mark
of this genre? When and how did fairy tales become bedtime stories for
children? What interests feminist authors in the fairy tale? Why and how do
fairy-tale remakes in today’s popular culture address adults? 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. This is a
Writing-Intensive course.



  • an oral
  • quizzes
  • two reaction
  • two argumentative
  • a midterm
  • a final
  • Attendance is mandatory.  



Zipes, editor, The Great Fairy Tale
; Marina Warner, editor, Wonder
; Angela Carter, The Bloody Chamber
(selections); Emma Donoghue, Kissing the
. Additional required reading will be available on laulima, and we
will also discuss at least three fairy-tale films, including David Kaplan’s Little Red Riding Hood and Guillermo del
Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth.