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Ailanna
Registered User
(5/28/07 4:37 am)


Villainy in fairy tale picture books
Hello!

I'm starting work on my postgrad dissertation in which I am looking at portrayals of villains in fairy tale picture books -- particularly books that have radically altered the fairy tale they claim to be based on, such as Diane Stanley's Rumpelstiltskin's Daughter, Jon Sciesczka's The Frog Prince Continued and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!, David Wiesner's The Three Pigs, and Jane Yolen's Sleeping Ugly. I'm interested in looking at ways in which the villain is reimagined, marginalised, redeemed, or even exonerated through word, image, and the combination of both.

I have no shortage of possible picture books to look at -- the problem will be deciding whether to choose a range of different fairy tales or different 'versions' of the same fairy tale (and I realise that in itself is a problematic assumption!) or look at several different ones -- but I don't know of many critical sources on the subject. Any advice? I assume Jack Zipes has written something pertinent on the subject, but I'm not sure exactly where to look. Not much comes up in the library catalogue when I search for 'villainy'!

Thanks! I will definitely be citing the Surlalune page in my bibliography...

vlronn
Registered User
(5/29/07 3:47 pm)


Villians
Three books that might be helpful are Marina Warner's No Go the Bogeyman:Scaring, Lulling, and Making Mock, Wiches, Ogres, and The Devil's Daughter: Encounters with Evil in Fairy Tales by Jacoby, Kast and Riedel, and Jack Zipes' Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of the Genre.

If you are studying fairy tales, you should really get a copy of The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales: The Western fairy tale tradition from medieval to modern edited by Jack Zipes. It's a little pricey, so I would try abebooks or alibris first.

Good Luck!!

Ailanna
Registered User
(5/30/07 2:48 am)


Re: Villians
Thanks!

My last haul from the library yielded Marina Warner's From Beast to Blonde and ML von Franz's Shadow and Evil in Fairytales -- I'll have a look next time for the books you suggested. The library does (rather amazingly) have a copy of the Oxford Companion, which I looked at for an earlier essay on Trina Schart Hyman's and Kinuko Craft's two versions of Sleeping Beauty.

The program I'm doing isn't actually specific to fairy tales; it's an MA in Children's Literature, and most of my dissertation will, I think, be spent closely reading the picture book texts I've chosen -- so as such, I'm not sure how closely I'll be working with the history and theory of fairy tales. A good question to ask my advisor! At any rate, a little more background can't possibly be a bad thing.

Thank you so much for your help!

kristiw
Registered User
(5/30/07 9:14 pm)


Re: Villians
I just wondered, vironn, what the general take on Zipes' latest book is. I heard him give a paper on applying mimetics to fairy tales at the American Folklore Society conference last fall, and it was the subject of heated debate (if everyone had fewer degrees I would just call it an argument ;) ) "What Makes A Repulsive Frog So Appealing" is going to be published in the Journal of Folklore Research, and we're expecting it to be contentious and provocative. One of the concerns is that mimetics revives outdated evolutionary models of folktales: memes are given agency, stories just happen, and (in those overblown natural metaphors of the Grimms, where folklore just bubbles up from the ground and blooms like flowers) all the inventiveness and artistry of individual tellers gets subsumed under the undifferentiated mass of "the folk." What did you think of Why Fairy Tales Stick?

vlronn
Registered User
(5/31/07 6:08 pm)


Zipes Why Fairy Tales Stick
While I agree with many of Zipes' ideas about the evolution of the fairy tale and its use in and by society, However, I remain unconvinced that a fairy tale can "seek to perpetuate itself indiscriminately." (p. 15) This to me implies consciousness on the part of a piece of art.

Perhaps I am misunderstanding the language Zipes is using to describe this phenomenom, but when he writes that "All tales want to stay alive in us, and they compete for our attention," I remain very sceptical of the whole concept of memetics (p. 27).

Despite my qualms about memetics, the ideas that fairy tales can be used teach culture and mores, that they can evolve to fit hegemonic ideals, and that they can be subverted to teach new standards appear valid to me and are very well (and clearly) supported by Zipes.

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