Fairy Tales and the Literary Tradition הגדות ומסורות ספרותיות
MA Seminar סמינר אמ.איי
The fairy tale is simultaneously the oldest and the newest literary genre. It originated in oral tales, thousands of years old. Yet the fairy tale also played an important role in the formation of European national cultures in the 18th and 19th century in France, Germany, Britain and Italy. In the twentieth century, the fairy tale became a preferred genre for political satire, feminist subversion, and avant-garde metafiction. At the same time, in the last two hundred years the fairy tale has often been seen as a children’s or young adults’ genre, which generated significant shifts in its narrative form and thematic content, especially as the genre moved to the big screen with Disney.
In this seminar we will discuss the theoretical foundations of the study of fairy tales, looking at the seminal texts by Vladimir Propp, Jack Zipes, and others. In parallel we will read classic fairy tales by Charles Perrault, the Grimm brothers, Hans-Christian Andersen, Oscar Wilde and other 18th and 19th-century writers. Then we will discuss the transformations of the fairy tale in the 20th and 21st centuries by considering seminal texts by Angela Carter, Tanith Lee, jane Yolen and others. We will discuss the connection between the fairy tale and the issues of gender, national identity, the Holocaust and other collective traumas. At the same time, we will focus on the narratology of the fairy tale and its interaction with other literary and cinematic genres.
A detailed syllabus will be posted before the beginning of the semester.
Requirements: active independent work (including online), two short papers, a class presentation, and the final paper.