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Feminist Fairy Tales

ENGL 290.602
instructor(s):
W 5:30-8:30

What happens in between "Once upon a time" and "Happily ever after?" How have
fairy tales changed over time? How has feminism affected the stories we grew
up with? And why do women writers return, time and time again, to the stories
we all grew up with? In this class, we will explore the impact of popular
culture on fairy tales and fairy tales on popular culture, as well as the
effects of fairy tales on the formation of a woman’s self-image. We will
examine the value of beauty, kindness, youth, sexuality and wealth from a
variety of angles, and we will also assess what fairy tales from different
cultures suggest about women and femininity. Finally, we will consider what
these tales have to offer contemporary feminist writers--why do writers revise
old stories at all? We will read several different versions of the same fairy
tale from different time-periods and cultures and contrast the most well-known
and influential versions of fairy tales with feminist revisions of those tales
such as those by Angela Carter, Tanith Lee, Louise Murphy, Kirsty Gunn, Terry
Pratchett, and others. We will also contextualize our primary readings with
secondary readings that are also written from a range of perspectives:
psychoanalytic, feminist, and sociological.