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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : English Literature

Undergraduate Course: Fairy Tales (ENLI10274)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course is intended to introduce students to significant exponents of the literary fairy tale in Britain and Europe from the Renaissance to the contemporary period, enabling them to explore the evolution and development of the genre across time with regard to its changing aesthetic form and the different range of cultural, social, and symbolic meanings which the genre invokes.
Course description 'Fairy Tales seek to remake the world in the image of desire' (Marina Warner).

Fairy tales lie at the heart of almost all cultures at all times - fantastical, magical fictions which, according to Marina Warner, reshape the world 'in the image of desire'. Acknowledging its diversity and plurality, this course introduces you to a particular moment, or series of moments, in its literary history. We will trace the development of the richness of fairytale art from the c16th century to the contemporary period, from the birth of the literary fairy tale in Italy and France and its reshaping as children's literature in the hands of the brothers Grimm to the variety of its imaginative reenchantments in modern literature and film. Each week we will seek to read our texts with close attention and sensitivity to questions of form, context, and thematic subject-matter, exploring such issues as the relationship between fairy tales and childhood; their imaginative telling and invention; their representation of bodies, sexualities, genders, identities; the depths of their emotional and psychological worlds; their engagement with questions of politics, class, identities. Throughout the course, we will also explore and evaluate a variety of critical and theoretical approaches to fairytale.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: ( Literary Studies 1A (ENLI08020) OR Literary Studies 1B (ENLI08021) AND English Literature 1 (ENLI08001) AND Scottish Literature 1 (ENLI08016)) AND ( Literary Studies 2A: English Literature in the World, 1380-1788 (ENLI08024) OR Literary Studies 2B: English Literature in the World, post-1789 (ENLI08025) OR Scottish Literature 2A (ENLI08022) AND Scottish Literature 2B (ENLI08023) OR English Literature 2 (ENLI08003) AND Scottish Literature 2 (ENLI08004))
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs Essential course texts
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Recognize and trace the historical development of the fairy tale genre in a British and European context. Understand and evaluate different definitions and theoretical approaches to the genre.
  2. Compare and contrast traditional and classical tale variants. Analyse and interpret the formal literary and aesthetic properties of the genre.
  3. Understand and evaluate the role of women writers in the creation and perpetuation of the genre.
  4. Explain the role of fairy tales in Romantic literary nation-formation.
  5. Explore questions of gender, sexuality and identity both within traditional and classical variants, and in subsequent revisionings or reinterpretations and understand the changing cultural and symbolic functions of fairy tales over time
Reading List
Zipes, Jack ed., The Great Fairy Tale Tradition (Norton Critical Editions, 2001) (for tales from the Italian and French traditions by Straparola, Basile, Perrault, d'Aulnoy, Bernard, Leprince de Beaumont)
Andersen, Hans Christian, Fairy Tales, ed. Tina Nunnally (Penguin Classics, 2004) nb. This is the recommended edition but is currently only available in hardback; you may wish to get hold of another cheaper edition)
Grimms, Selected Tales, ed. Joyce Crick (OUP, 2009)
Barrie, J.M., Peter Pan and Other Plays (Oxford World's Classics, 1999)
Carter, Angela, The Bloody Chamber and other Stories (Vintage, 2006)
Pan's Labyrinth, directed by Guillermo del Toro (2006)
Contemporary fairy tales by Nalo Hopkinson, Ludmilla Petrushevskaya, and others (anthology available on Learn)

Detailed secondary reading will be available on Learn but for an excellent introduction to the subject (accessible via MyEd), please see Marina Warner, Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale (2014)
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements Numbers are limited, with priority given to students taking degrees involving English or Scottish Literature and Visiting Students placed by the Admissions Office. Students not in these categories need the written approval of the Head of English Literature before enrolling. In the case of excess applications places will be decided by ballot.
Additional Class Delivery Information Seminar: 2 hour(s) per week for 10 week(s); plus attendance for one hour a week at Autonomous Learning Group - at time to be arranged.
KeywordsENLI10274 Fairy Tales
Course organiserDr Peter Adkins
Tel: (0131 6)51 7112
Course secretaryMs Sheila Strathdee
Tel: (0131 6)50 3619
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