(12/17/02 2:09:05 pm)
I'm new to the board but I've been reading for a while and I'd just like to say before I continue that I've found a lot of what is being posted both interesting and helpful.
That being said, I have a question I'd like to pose. I won't mislead you and leave out any mention of the fact that my research does have something to do with my homework, but my question is also one in which I have a genuine interest, and I definitely think that this is the forum from which I will get the most insightful response.
I'm wondering whether anyone has given any thought to whether, as we adapt fairy tales to make them more contemporary, they lose some or all of their instructional benefits or cultural significance?
I am in particular examining the "Fairy Tale Series" edited by Terri Windling, but I would greatly appreciate any and all ideas anyone might have either in terms of suggested reading or their own opinions.
(12/18/02 1:26:32 pm)
Re: Fairytale Adaptations|
As someone who has written for Terri's series, I would reply that while the possibility exists for the fairy tale adaptation to lose something, there's as much possibility for it to gain as well. Disney adaptations would mostly go in the loss category for me, but I think--and I'm going to speak for a lot of writers who'll have their own opinions on this and may weigh in shortly--the stories Terri and Ellen Datlow have collected significantly enrich the fairy tales rather than robbing them of anything.
What you'd have to do for your historical perspective is look at the place of the tales in their first incarnations, and their relationship to those 16th & 17th century cultures--which will be quite different from their relationship to our own and may, finally, be impossible to ascertain. The tales are so formidable that they've withstood repeated bowdlerizing and shape-changing as various societies have imposed restrictions as to what could and couldn't be expressed. And again, many of the stories in Terri's anthologies probably attempt to return some of what has been stripped out of the stories over time.
As for their instructional aspects, I don't know that this was overt or intended in many or most cases. Where it was, for instance in numerous of Perrault's retellings, the lesson was at best sexist and unworthy of being maintained.
You have to remember, though, that a lot of the tales had been through endless oral revising by the time they were written down in the first place, so you could arguably make the case that the cultural "significance" had already mutated, and probably more than once. At least one recent study suggests that the pieces from which the tales were finally assembled existed in ancient Greek and Roman tales, which advocates for the stories being fluid, ever-changing--dynamic tales.
(12/19/02 5:12:40 am)
Thanks for the insight, I can see my thesis evolving already.