Course Detail

195:246: Fairy Tales Then and Now

  • SAS Core Requirement: AHp, WCD

This course analyzes the structure, meaning, and function of fairy tales and their enduring influence on literature and popular culture. While we will concentrate on the German context, and in particular on the works of the Brothers Grimm, we also will consider fairy tales drawn from a number of different national traditions and historical periods, including the American present. Various strategies for interpreting fairy tales will be examined, including methodologies derived from structuralism, folklore studies, gender studies, and psychoanalysis. We will explore pedagogical and political uses and abuses of fairy tales. We will investigate the evolution of specific tale types and trace their transformations in various media from oral storytelling through print to film, television, and the stage. Finally, we will consider potential strategies for the reinterpretation and rewriting of fairy tales. This course has no prerequisites. This course fulfills Core requirements AHp and WCd. Course Cross-listing: 470:225

Required readings:
The following texts are available for purchase at the Rutgers bookstore, and will be placed on
reserve at Alexander Library:

The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm, tr. Jack Zipes, 3rd ed. (Bantam, 0553382160)
Spiegelman, Maus I and Maus II (Pantheon, 0679748407)
Grimm/Sendak, Dear Mili (Farrar Straus Giroux, 9781250035127)
The following titles are available as a free download from Amazon:
Lessing, Nathan the Wise
Fouqué, Undine
All other required readings will be made available via Sakai

Required films (streaming available via Sakai course site):

Snow White (Disney)
Beauty and the Beast (Cocteau and Disney versions)
The Little Mermaid (Disney)
Frozen (Disney)
Mulan (Disney)
The Lion King (Disney)
Into the Woods (Sondheim musical, 1991 Broadway version)

Course requirements and grading:
Regular class attendance, careful preparation of assigned readings and viewings, active class participation, and successful completion of all assignments are required to receive a passing grade in this course.

Quizzes 15%
Midterm exam 20%
Essay I, II (20% each) 40%
Essay III 25%