FYS 100, section 30: Twice-Told Tales: Fairy Tales in Literary and Popular Culture
Professor Elisabeth Gruner
Classroom: Ryland Hall 204

Office: Ryland Hall 303-C
Spring 2013 Office Hours: Wed., 10-11, Th 10:30-11:30, and by appointment
Writing Consultant: Katie Oberkircher

Fairy tales are among the most popular, and least understood, literature and entertainment we provide to children. But did you know that most fairy tales were not originally intended for children? That they contain stories of violence, adultery, cannibalism, and more? How did these become “nursery fare”? Do those origins still leave their traces in the children’s movies and books that we know and love? And why do we keep telling them over and over again?

In this first-year seminar course we will delve into fairy tales, fairy tale revisions, adaptations, and reworkings, in order to explore the relevance of fairy tales for and beyond childhood and for and beyond entertainment. Questions we’ll consider include:

  • do fairy tales express universal truths or culturally-specific values–or both?
  • what makes a story a “fairy tale”?
  • who are fairy tales for?
  • what does it mean to revise and/or rework a fairy tale?