OverviewThis literary-critical module deals with a wide range of selected international tales ranging from antiquity to the present day. The module addresses issues such as the development of oral folktales and fairy tales into written forms, and discusses various short prose genres including Aesopian fables, myths, folktales and fairy tales, as well as tales of the fantastic, nineteenth-century literary fairy tales, and the modern short story.
The framework of discussion comprises a general survey of the issues that face the comparatist. In the course of the module students practise different methods of literary analysis, including close reading and comparative analysis by examining story-motifs and story-structures, and by considering symbolic meanings in the light of psychoanalytic concepts. Students also explore questions of transmission and transformation (e.g. how stories and motifs travel from one culture to another and alter in shape and emphasis) and questions of genre (for example the fantastic). A selection of critical texts on narrative devices and patterns, on psychoanalytical, structuralist and feminist approaches to the fairy tale and on genre theories are studied in conjunction with the primary texts.
This module appears in:
Total Contact Hours: 40
Method of assessment
• Essay 1 (1,500 words) – 15%
• Essay 2 (1,500 words) – 15%
• Essay 3 (1,500 words) – 20%
• Examination (2 hours) – 50%
Any edition of the following:
Anderson, H.C. Fairy Tales
Anon. The Epic of Gilgamesh
Anon. Tales from the Thousand and One Nights
Carter, A. The Bloody Chamber
Grimm, J & W. Grimm's Fairy Tales
Homer. The Odyssey
Poe, E.A. The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings
Wilde, O. The Happy Prince and Other Tales
- Demonstrate familiarity with tales from classical antiquity to the present day;
- Assess the distinctive literary features of folktales, novellas, fairy tales, and short stories to develop an insight into the way writers through the ages have used tales from previous cultures and adapt them to suit their own literary purposes;
- Evaluate the stylistic, structural, and thematic features of a wide range of short fiction;
- Take note of the problems posed by the study of texts in translation, alerting them to issues of cultural difference and translation-as-interpretation;
- Demonstrate ability to write essays in literary criticism.