Welcome to the SJC Freshman Seminar on Fairy and Folk Tales

fairy-talesWe all recall the fairy tales that entranced us when we were young… and maybe still do.  Before they were called “fairy tales,” they were folk tales.  Where do fairy tales come from?  What makes a story a “fairy tale?”  How are they related to myths, if they are?

In our freshmen seminar and on this site, we will explore how fairy and folk tales captivate our imaginations, their history, their meaning and the many ways that scholars have attempted to “tame” them and unpack their influence on us.  Welcome!

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Illustrating fairy tales

There are a myriad of visualizations of fairy tales, beyond the iconic movie images from the Walt Disney studios.  Exploring how image captures story–or a moment in the story–invites the reader/viewer to situate themselves within.

 

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Cinderella- the eternal desire to be other

Cinderella from DisneyThis week’s project we are going to take a look at some modern day renderings of the Cinderella story.  I invite each of you find a movie that mimics the story but with, of course a twist. Post a trailer or section of a video here for us to comment upon!

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Mapping Fairy Tales

Atlas Obscura, one of my favorite drop-in sites, has a post on a wonderful map about fairy tale people.  Visit their site for more details.

The Land of Make Believe by Jaro Hess. (All photos courtesy of DAVID RUMSEY MAP COLLECTION)

The Land of Make Believe by Jaro Hess. (All photos courtesy of DAVID RUMSEY MAP COLLECTION)

Where might you set a fairy tale in a present day location?

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Once upon a time…

Many fairy tales capture our attention as they begin with “Once upon a time…”  We settle back and prepare ourselves to take a journey into another place and time.  And so… what journey will you take?  Use this image to prompt a fairy tale.

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Welcome to the world of fairy tales

Fairy Tales are both completely familiar and mysteriously alien.  Most of us grow up hearing the stories of Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast and there are many films and TV shows which can capitalized on our love of these stories.  While we tend to relegate them to “children’s literature” these stories were originally told within the family circle as entertainment for all ages or written down in versions which clearly were intended for adults, not kids.

One of the most important goals of education is to encourage us to question, examine, reflect on what seems obvious but as we explore it carefully, not so much.  Education is essentially regaining our childhood talent at questioning for meaning.  This site is connected to a freshman seminar course at St. Joseph’s College in New York where first year college students will share in a collaborative adventure in inquiry.  In exploring fairy tales and their interpretations we will range through psychology, history, sociology, philosophy, literature, and education.  Join us as our website develops over the next couple of months.

Dr. W. C. Turgeon
September 5, 2019

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Types of Fairies

tinkerbellWe all tend to think of Tinkerbell as the quintessential fairy but in fact there are many types and kinds.   Here is a list compiled by Nicole Canfield who has apparently done her research.

Alven, Ashrays, Avalon,  Ballybog, Banshee, Brownie, Changeling, Clurichaun, Devas, Dryad, Elf,  Gnomes,  Heather Pixie, Irish Sea Water Guardians, Kelpie, Lady of the Lake, Leprechaun, Merpeople, Nymphs Pixie, Salamander, Seelie Court, Selkie, Sprite, Will O’Wisp,  Unseelie Court.

Can you find definitions and images of these imaginary creatures?  Why so many?

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