This course focuses on fairy tales and their tellers in Western culture. The fairy tale as a literary genre in Western literature is usually considered to have been inaugurated in 17th-century France. However, the roots of storytelling itself go back to Classical, Early Christian and Islamic cultures. The first semester examines storytelling, its practitioners and images, in art, legend and history.
Class attendance / reading assignments / quizzes / term paper and/or creative work
Jack Zipes ed. The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: From Straparola and Basile to the Brothers Grimm. A Norton Critical Edition. Norton, 2001. Handouts to be distributed in class.
Marina Warner, From the Beast to the Blond: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers. London: Vintage, 1995.
Preliminary preparation and active participation in class are essential. Students are expected to take both the first and second semester courses. The class will be conducted in English.
The Tellers 1. The Legend of the Sybil of Cumae: The Irrepressible Energy of Interdicted Narrative 2. The Old Wives' Tale: Ambivalent Images of Women's Gossip 3. Geese, Storks and Ducks: Birds as Symbols for Female Knowledge and Power 4. Sybilline Prophecies: The Sybil as Cross-Cultural Symbol of Wisdom 5. The Cult of Saint Anne: The Benevolent Image of the Grandmother of Christ 6. The Queen of Sheba as Icon of Wisdom in Religious and Secular Folklore a. The Magic of the Cross b. The Glass Paving and the Secret Foot c. On Riddles, Asses and the Wisdom of Fools 7. Seduction: The Optative Mood of Storytelling a. Sweet Talk, Pleasant Laughter b. Granny Bonnets, Wolves' Cover
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