Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 551: 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 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.

This course will emphasize reading and discussion with an additional focus on the development of critical thinking skills related to the subject matter. Written requirements include brief critical responses in the form of weekly discussions and a final project on a topic related to material discussed in class. No prior 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

The Great Fairy Tale Tradition First Edition: Jack Zipes, W.W. Norton, ISBN 9780393976366

The Classic Fairy Tales First Edition: Maria Tartar, W.W. Norton, ISBN 9780393972771

MLA Handbook (8th edition), ISBN: 9781603292627

Online Readings: Please see our course website for online readings. The Blackboard course will be made available no later than the first day of classes. Please see the UNCW Academic Calendar.

Last Update: November 30, 2017