Classic Fairy Tales Reconsidered

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Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
July 19, 2021 - August 11, 20217/19 - 8/113 WeeksOnlineWaitlistedOnlineElisabeth Bell

Course Description

Originally, fairy tales were not intended for children, but throughout much of their history, they were told among adult audiences for entertainment and instruction. During Romanticism, fairy tales were understood as tales sending a strong moral and didactic message. The basic structure and narrative conventions are provided through magic, supernatural elements, and happy endings.

This course introduces students to the original versions of fairy tales and makes them aware that the tradition continues to present times. We will re-read the classics Beauty and the Beast, Bluebeard, Little Red Riding Hood, Puss-in-Boots, and Sleeping Beauty from a contemporary author's perspective, starting with Apuleius, Straparola, Basile, Perrault, and the Grimm Brothers. We will then compare their versions to 20th-century re-tellings by British author Angela Carter.

At the end of this course, you should be able to:

  • Appreciate diversity and human differences in a variety of cultures;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of literature as a work of art;
  • Identify and define literary elements, genres, and artistic movements;
  • Ask informed questions, discuss interpretations, experiment with new ideas, share your insights with others;
  • Have acquired a literary vocabulary and developed an understanding of how to access new texts;
  • Apply the acquired conceptual tools with which to approach literature to other fields;
  • Critically analyze a text based on your own observations and close reading;
  • Think, write, and speak critically and analytically about crucial issues and then use your new skills to write clear, coherent, well-structured papers using a given text as support to your claims and as illustrations of your thesis about a literary work;
  • Have a better understanding and appreciation of literature from other cultures;
  • Finally, you will have developed some learning skills, as well as adult-level writing and conversation techniques, that should serve you well throughout your college career.

Prerequisites: No specific prior experience or knowledge is required.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEEL0901

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences for students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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