English 189 - Fall, 2019

Seminar in Literary Studies

    Topic: Feminist Fairy Tales. Marie de France to A.S. Byatt

Class Information

Instructor: Waters, Claire
CRN: 42101
Time: TR 1:40-3:00
Location: 248 Voorhies


    This small, discussion-based course will center on three collections of stories in which women authors engage with received traditions of fairy tales: Marie de France's Lais (12th century; in translation), Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber (1979), and A. S. Byatt's The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye (1994). We will also read analogues of some of these stories as well as criticism of them. Topics we will consider include the medieval "pre-history" of fairy tales and how Marie's stories of otherworldly or magical encounters speak to Carter's and Byatt's; the role of non-human characters in these narratives; the association of fairy tales with childhood or children; and whether or how these specific re-engagements with tradition take a feminist stance, however we might understand that--basically, what difference it makes that they were written by women.


    Class attendance and participation, 20%
    Discussion questions, 10%
    Short writing assignments, 45%
    Final paper, 25%


    Lais, Marie de France (ed. Waters)
    The Bloody Chamber, Angela Carter
    The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye, A. S. Byatt