This course will be offered in Fall 2014 as an extension campus online course. This course description has been approved by the instructor for that semester. Use for general information only after Fall 2014.

Course Description

GLS 592: Grave Robbing for a Wedding Gown: An Exploration of the Contemporary Fairy Tale

Instructor: Ashley Hudson

"In life, the mermaid's tongue had been cut out, but in death she could speak in a hush that sounded like the froth of a breaking wave. It was while hanging there, in her stolen wedding gown, next to the ghost, that Desiree learned the story, the truth of what had happened..."
-- Timothy Schaffert, "The Mermaid in the Tree"

" And what are you carrying under your apron?"
-- The Brothers Grimm, "Little Red Cap"

This course will explore the fairy tale in its most contemporary forms by initially looking back over traditional examples of the genre, then working our way through a selection of fairy tales that began to turn the tradition on its pretty little head, on into an examination of fairy tales being written today by some of the country's most exciting up and coming authors and poets. We'll explore what remains of the fairy tale tradition, what's changed and why, how this evolution fits into a tradition of American literature, and what the resurgence of the genre says about our most contemporary cultural situation.

In addition to reading a myriad of selected texts in this course, students will participate in discussion, submit brief weekly writing assignments (2 pages) generated by the text and discussion, and develop a lexicon for discussing contemporary poetry and fiction while evolving critical thinking skills specifically relevant to such subject matter.

The course will culminate in an academic guided-research paper (8-10 pages) and a final creative writing assignment (one short story or a poem).

No previous poetry or fiction writing experience necessary.

Required Texts:

  • My Mother, She Killed Me, My Father, He Ate Me: forty new fairy tales; edited by Kate Bernheimer, Penquin, ISBN 9780143117841
  • Horse, Flower, Bird: Kate Bernheimer, Coffee House Press, ISBN 9781566892476
  • Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls: stories by Alissa Nutting, Starcherone, ISBN 0984213325
  • The Great Fairy Tale Tradition: Jack Zipes, W.W. Norton, ISBN 039397636
  • The Classic Fairy Tales: Maria Tartar, W.W. Norton, ISBN 0393972771

Required or Recommended: Other

  • Headphones -- Recommended
  • Reliable Internet Access -- Required

Last Update: February 24, 2014


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