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Paula
Registered User
(9/25/07 7:56 pm)


Architecture and Fairy tales
Hello

As a student of architecture, I am interested in researching the relationship between fairy tales, gender identity and the architectural space or structures around which these stories unfold.

For example, I find the tale of Bluebeard's forbidden closet or Rapunzel's inaccessible tower as powerful architectural devices around which the struggle of the heroine takes place. In a pretty general way at the moment, I am interested in how these symbolic structures might be tied to the reinforcement of gender roles.

It's also interesting that many fairy tales unfold in domestic spaces...

Not being a scholar by any means on the subject of fairy tales, I would appreciate greatly any thoughts, references or advice.

Thanks!

Terri Windling
Registered User
(9/26/07 3:11 am)


Re: Architecture and Fairy tales
That sounds like a fascinating subject.

I suggest you start with a good history of fairy tales, particularly one that looks at women's issues in the tales and in the societies that produced them. I recommend Marina Warner's terrific book From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and their Tellers.

Online, you'll find a lot of information about individual tale here on our host's website, Surlalune. For fairy tale history, please have a look at the list of fairy tale articles on our Endicott Studio website. There are articles on the history of Bluebeard, Rapunzel and other tales, with "Further Reading" recommendations at the end of each article. (For instance, fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar has written a very good book on the Bluebeard story. You''ll find it listed among the recommendations at the end of our Bluebeard article.)

Will you be writing a paper on this topic? I'd love to read it when you're done.

Edited by: Terri Windling at: 9/26/07 3:27 am
Paula
Registered User
(9/26/07 5:54 am)


Re: Architecture and Fairy tales
Terri,

Thank you for your reply and encouragement! Yes, I will be writing an extensive paper on the topic and would be happy to send it through once complete (in a couple months or so).

AliceCEB
Registered User
(9/26/07 7:44 am)


Re: Architecture and Fairy tales
If you are interested in unusual architecture, there's Baba Yaga's house--with chicken legs that move the house about. I know there are other tales that have glass castles... I'll have to think on it.

Alice

Rosemary Lake
Registered User
(9/26/07 8:16 am)


Re: Architecture and Fairy tales
In Calvino's ITALIAN FOLK TALES there's an underground mansion in "The Chicory Gatherers", a tower of imprisonment in "The Canary Prince".

aka Greensleeves
Registered User
(9/26/07 4:13 pm)


Re: Architecture and Fairy tales
By "student of architecture," I'm guessing you mean that literally, as in "learning to make buildings." You might also try looking into the anthropology of architecture (which is a small but fascinating focused field of study), and then moving from there into the tales. One title that comes to mind is Paul Oliver's DWELLINGS: THE HOUSE ACROSS THE WORLD, or Gaston Bachelard's THE POETICS OF SPACE. Even something like Nan Fairbrother's MEN AND GARDENS might have some interesting observations you can use to help inform your study of the fairy tales. I'm sure there are better works out there that will apply better to your specific interest, but these might be a good starting place.

Good luck--it sounds absolutely fascinating.

Edited by: aka Greensleeves at: 9/26/07 4:17 pm

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