FYS 100, sections 13 and 54: Twice-Told Tales: Fairy Tales in Literary and Popular Culture
Professor Elisabeth Gruner
Classroom: Ryland Hall 203 (sec 13, MW) and Ryland Hall 216 (sec 54, TR)
Office: Ryland Hall 303-C
Fall 2010 Office Hours: Wed., 1:30 – 2:30, Thu., 10:30 – 11:30, and by appointment
Writing Consultants: Ryan Lamont (MW) and Amanda Malloy (TR)

This fall the “Twice-Told Tales” seminar will focus on a case study of perhaps the most popular fairy tale in the Western canon, “Cinderella,” and its variants. We will begin by remembering and retelling the tale, moving from there into a close study of some of the oldest, most popular and most familiar versions of the tale, as told by Giambattista Basile, Charles Perrault, and Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Students will explore alternate tellings and revisions of the tale, both contemporary and historical, as they consider such questions as:

  • what makes a story a “fairy tale”?
  • how and why do certain versions of tales survive?
  • do fairy tales express universal truths or culturally-specific issues–or both?
  • what does it mean to revise and/or rework a fairy tale?
  • are fairy tales for children?

Other questions will no doubt arise during the course of the semester as well.  Students will write every day, read voraciously, and engage in vigorous class discussion as they develop their research questions for presentation to the class by the end of the semester.

Things you’ll need for Twice-Told Tales:

  1. An open and curious mind.
  2. A willingness to re-examine some deeply-held beliefs.
  3. Respect for your fellow students.
  4. A notebook! And something to write with.