The Fairy Tale and Literature
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Undergraduate Studies
Course Number: NLIT 3873
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
- Gender and Sexuality Studies
Adults need erotic literature just as children need fairy tales, according to Havelock Ellis. Yet fairy tales themselves have an erotic and adult history. Why do children need them? What do they mean? How do they fill our collective imagination with remnants of ancient history? This course surveys a number of recent approaches to the European fairy tale. We begin by looking for common narrative functions in a set of stories. Next we examine the fairy tale as a genre with a history through multiple versions of the story of Cinderella. We also compare fairy tales to short stories by Hoffmann and Poe, and consider feminist approaches to the classic tales. Students read tales by Perrault, Mme. d'Aulnoy, Mlle. de La Force, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Lewis Carroll; and essays by Vladimir Propp, Jack Zipes, Sigmund Freud, and Maria Tatar.