Reading & Composition

Reading & Composition

Strange Marriages
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Molly Bronstein and Tom Maude-Griffin
12-1 pm
234 Dwinelle

Marriages in myths and fairy tales are rarely without their 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, Beauty and the Beast, and Bluebeard — and think about what these tales do, and what subsequent authors do to them. We will consider cumulative literary dialogues between authors such as Charles Perrault, Diana Wynne Jones, and Carmen Maria Machado, who revisit and renegotiate myths’ and fairy tales’ interest in women’s curiosity, marital transgressions, and imbalanced power in relationships. Students in this course will become a part of a collective storytelling conversation while examining marriages between different literary traditions.

Texts (and films) may include:

The Cupid and Psyche episode from The Golden Ass

Selections from Andrew Lang's Blue Fairy Book

Howl's Moving Castle (the novel and the film)

Jean Cocteau's La Belle et la Bête

Short stories by Angela Carter and Carmen Maria Machado