Feminist Fairy-Tale Scholarship A Critical Survey and Bibliography.pdf

That folk narratives offer a multicolored spectrum of

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that folk narratives "offer a multicolored spectrum of female characters," whohave every chance of being "sly," "lazy," "old," or "strong" (7).6 Farmore mythically inclined, Sigrid Früh, on the other hand, hoped to present "as broad as possible a spectrum of strong, active, and loving women" (195). So Früh privileged tales whose female characters could be classified under distinctly edifying rubrics: "saviors," "the helpful and faithful," "the clever and cunning," "warriors and rulers," and "the fates, the Great Mother, and goddesses." Kathleen Ragan, who gave priority to tales in which "main characters are female and [ . . . ] worthy of emulation" (xxvi), differentiated her idea of the exemplary heroine from Angela Carter's, whose first collection Ragan described as being based on a "view of women in folktales that includes sexual exploits andvictims as well as heroines" (437). Angela Carter, of course, had no interest in presenting a one-dimensional view of women - let alone heroines without sexuality. Herfirst folktale collec- tion, published in the US as The Old Wives' Fairy Tale Book (1990), took pleasure in highlighting the heroine's multiple identities. "These stories have only one thing in common [...]," wrote Carter in her introduction, "they all centre around a female protagonist; be she clever, or brave, or good, or silly, or cruel, or sinister, or awesomely unfortunate, she is centre stage, as large as life [...]" (xiii). Moreover, Carter's two folktale collections aimed at reasserting precisely those dimensions of a woman's life - including sexuality - that male editors had suppressed. As Marina Warner explained in the introduction to Carter's second, posthumously published collection, Strange Things Sometimes Still Hap- pen: Fairy Tales from around the World (1992), "Angela Carter's partisan feeling for women, which burns in all her work, never led her to any conventional form of feminism; but shecontinues [in this collection] one of her original and effective strategies, snatching outof the jaws of misogyny itself, 'useful stories' for women. [ ... H] ereshe turns topsy-turvy some cautionary folk tales and shakes outthe fear and dislike of women they once expressed to create a new set of values, about strong, outspoken, zestful, sexual women who can't be kept down [...]" (x). Anthologies of literary fairy tales by and about women complemented these collections of folktales from the 1980s and 1990s. Some of these drew attention to historically neglected fairy tales penned by women.7 Others assembled contemporary fairy tales authored by men and women engaged in the cultural 22
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FEMINIST FAIRY-TALE SCHOLARSHIP debate over gender and sexual politics.8 The most critically provocative of all these anthologies was The Trials and Tribulations of Little Red Riding Hood, published by Jack Zipes in 1983 (2nd ed. 1993). This anthology presented over thirty literary adaptations of"Little Red Riding Hood" in chronological order, which encouraged an illuminating comparison of variants and an historical analysis of the tale's development.
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  • Fall '19
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