Reading & Composition

Reading & Composition

Strange Marriages
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Molly Bronstein and Mufei Jiang
10-11 am

Marriages in myths and fairy tales are rarely without extensive trials; folklore is full of lost and monstrous husbands, women’s journeys to retrieve them, and their efforts to flee them.  In this course we will read a core set of narratives about supernatural or otherwise strange relationships — such as Cupid and Psyche, Tam Lin, Beauty and the Beast, and Bluebeard — and think about what these tales do, and what subsequent authors do to them.  Just as authors like Diana Wynne Jones and Carmen Maria Machado reinterpret the work that precedes them, so will we engage in our own interpretive work as we read their texts in turn (and write our papers).  Students in this course will become a part of a collective storytelling conversation while examining marriages between different storytelling traditions, and will learn to read closely and generate persuasive arguments from their readings.  

Texts may include:

The Cupid & Psyche episode from The Golden Ass

Ballads of Tam Lin and Thomas the Rhymer (selections)

Select fairy tales written and/or collected by Charles Perrault, Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, Andrew Lang

Marie de France’s Lais (selections)

Diana Wynne Jones, Fire and Hemlock or Howl’s Moving Castle

Short stories by Angela Carter, Sofia Samatar, Carmen Maria Machado