(3/5/02 11:33:56 am)
| U. Topia...|
Just another fun poll/discussion generator- feel free to comment
on all or part.
If there was a U. Topia, an ideal learning environment where fairy tales, folklore, mythology, and such were studied, embraced, accepted as a full-credited degree program (Associates, Bachelors, Masters, Doctorate), what classes would you like to take and/or teach? Who would be the ideal professor/guest lecturer? Textbook selection and recommended reading? Ideal setting? How many years? Imaginary or already existing? Internships? Other thoughts?
Edited by: Kerrie at: 3/5/02 2:29:00 pm
(3/5/02 2:01:09 pm)
| U. Topia|
Just off the top of my head, I would love to take a full-year seminar entitled:
Legends, myths, fairy tales, fantasy and science fiction: an historical survey and a discussion of how this literature reflects societies both changing and universal attitudes with regard to morality, religion, politics, and personal responsibility.
Ooh, now that I see that on paper, I wonder if anyone would sign up? I would like to see various experts discuss their views. The experts could lecture and then the group could retire into a heated discussion, preferrably with appropriate libations, bringing their attitudes and knowledge to bear. The idea is that the topic(s) is(are) very open-ended, which would allow great latitude in what was discussed. Given the nature of the ideal discussion, I think it would need to be a graduate level course. It could be fun.
I know this only answers your question partly, but it is something I have been thinking about for some time.
(3/12/02 5:26:20 pm)
| A few random thoughts...|
A few classes to start (so much to think of):
Focus on a Tale: Would focus on media variants of one tale for the duration of the semester, such as Cinderella, Goose Girl, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, etc. Original variants, modern adaptations, films, music, etc.
Passive vs. Active: Role of the hero and heroine in a variety of tales. Do the characters allow events to happen or cause them? Do they deserve their rewards or downfall? Why?
Family values: Family dynamics as expressed in fairy tales- stepfamilies, brothers, sisters, parents, grandmothers, etc. Also, those that aren't often included: grandfathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.
Details: What details are important to the tales, which ones aren't? Red cloak, glass slipper, spindle, etc. What if they were different?
Just a few off the top of my head. Of course, for classmates and
instructors, I would love to have all of you there! I'll try to
think of some more detailed course.
(3/26/02 12:27:30 pm)
| Re: A few random thoughts...|
This is one of the threads that I really wanted to post on, but what with all of the end of term *stuff* that was going on, I just didn't have a chance. Arrgghh. So, now that there's time to breathe again, I though that I'd come back to it. I just got back from the ICFA - my first conference - and, you know, I didn't want to leave. I just wanted to stay there, forever, sitting in on panels on everything from Pullman and Rowlings to Batman and the Posthuman, catching snippets of conversation with Nalo Hopkinson and Ellen Datlow and Patricia McKillip, having breakfast with Elizabeth Hand and dinner with Jack Zipes. In all honesty, that's my idea of the ideal academic experience - interaction with all of these wonderful minds, known and unknown. I think that one of the most frustrating things about being in this particular field is that there is no centralized locale to pursue it; it's one of the things that I really envy people in more "known" genres for. One of my friends is a Postcolonialist, trying to decide between NYU and Berkeley, leaning towards the former (I hope, as then we'd be in the same city), mainly because so many people in her field live in NY - Said, Spivak, and co. - and the geographic compatibility would make it easier to recieve the necessary counsel for her research. We have that too, in a way, through this board, and through the various conventions and conferences; but it's a more tenuous, diffuse, connection, perhaps suitable for a folk stemming from the oral tradition; we're academic nomads. It would be wonderful, though, to have a regular salon to visit, to sit at the feet (or by the side) of literally fantastic people like the ones who visit this board. I can just picture it ... say, a nice chunk of territory carved out of some urban landscape (personally, I vote for laying claim to Belvedre Castle in Central Park) and equipping it to suit our interests. We could have a nice big library crammed with tales, arranged not by national origin or chronological period, but by motif, like an Aarne-Thompson index transmogrified into a card catalog; we could have an enormous reading room with regular readings by storytellers of all stripes, stocked with appropriate props, masks and instruments, set all about with tufted stools, a la Ms. Muffet, and throne-like seats, surrounding an enormous fireplace all a-flicker, beneath a skylight to show us the stars. We'd have frequent symposia, (using Kerrie's lovely time-travel technique) importing favored artists from all periods - the Grimms, Brentano, and Tieck, as many members of the contes de fees as we could get to cooperate - perhaps examining the works of their intellectual descendants with approval. Wouldn't it be interesting to see what, say, Perrualt would think of Robin McKinley's _Deerskin_? To hear a roundtable discussion between Strapparola, Afanasyev, and Angela Carter? Sigh. Forgive me for rambling, but I'm still riding the high of having been in the company of so many great people - hi, Laura, Greg, Nalo, and anyone at the conference who I didn't recognize in the flesh - and settling in to my everyday existence. Forgive me my flight of fancy.
Edited by: Helen at: 3/26/02 12:28:50 pm
(4/17/02 5:49:07 pm)
I myself have often thought how neat it would be to create a new cabinet de fees (sp?) with everyone here and more, gathering together and adding story upon story and just living it all! Ah, to dream!
Soft whispers and valley blossoms,
(4/17/02 10:17:55 pm)
| Cabinet des fees|
Ooh, great idea, Kerrie! You know what I think would be wonderful? We should have a "translation department," where scholars would work on translating into English (other languages too, but since we're all English speakers and this is our fantasy, English first) important works of folklore collection and scholarship that are inaccessible except to those readers fluent in the native language. Here's a list:
1) The entire works of Aleksandr Afanas'ev, the Russian equivalent of the Grimms. The most complete translation (Guterson's) contains less than a third of the over six hundred stories he collected. This is massively frustrating. And while they're at it, our translators can start sifting through all that scholarship on his tales, 90% of which is in Russian.
2) The Cabinet des Fees itself, which is MASSIVE; I don't believe anyone's translated the whole thing in anything like an accurate manner; if there has been, let's do a new one.
3) Heinz Rolleke's editions of the first edition of Grimms' _KHM_, as well as all their notes. Also, updated editions of _Teutonic Mythology_ and _German Sagas_.
4) Those reams of material from the Finnish folklore archives.
5) Heck, while we're at it, let's commision a new edition of the Aarne-Thompson _Types of the Folktale_, and make it available in an inexpensive paperback form. And lets go through their massive bibliography, and translate all those tale collections too.
6) A complete transcription and translation of the field recordings of Albert Lord, Milman Parry, and Edmund Leach, and any other important early field work. And why is there no really comprehensive collection of Serbo-Croatian tales? We'll make one.
7) Pitre, Verga, and Nerrucci, the sources for Calvino's _Italian Folktales_.
8)While we're at it, we'll send someone out to organize the Wayland
Hand collection of UCLA. Anyone up for sifting through vast filing
cabinets full of wart cures? And also someone to organize the collection
of the Folk-Lore Society in London, and to computerize it.
9) We'll have a "finder" or ten -- someone whose job it is to sift through the bibliography of every important work of folktale scholarship, and mark down every non-English book, and arrange them into a priority list. Major collections go first, than important scholarly works.
Y'know, if I ever win the Powerball, I'll set this thing up. I'm
salivating just thinking about it.