Fairy Tales, Folk Tales
Tuesdys and Thursdays
This online course features the following types of interaction:
- Live meetings
Fairy tales and folk tales embody the response of the individual and collective imagination (at its most fanciful and unfettered) to the longings, aspirations, and anxieties of the human soul. The older of the two genres, folk tales, are drawn primarily from the oral traditions of different ethnic and national cultures. Fairy tales are original works of literature inspired by, and modelled on the folk tale tradition. More than 500 variants of the Cinderella folk tale have been found across the globe. The volumes of “Fairy Tales” (including a version of Cinderella) published by the Brothers Grimm were basically composed of central European folk tales transcribed and somewhat refined by a pair of professional German philologists. Hans Christian Andersen’s celebrated fairy tales were, for the most part, original stories inspired by folk traditions but written in a more elaborate and consciously literary style. The class studies tales by the Brothers Grimm, Andersen, The Arabian Nights, and modern reinterpretations or resurrections of the folk and fairy tale traditions. Students are assigned a Critical Paper, an Oral Presentation (on an artwork related to fairy tale themes), and a creative Final Project in which they write and illustrate a new fairy tale and submit it along with an Artist’s Statement reflecting on the process.
Joshua Cohen holds a BA from Haverford College, and an MA and PhD from Boston University. He is Professor of English at MassArt. He has been published in the Classic Record Collector.