Wondrous transformations: rereading and rewriting wonder in contemporary anglophone and francophone fairy tales

Morin, Emeline (2016) Wondrous transformations: rereading and rewriting wonder in contemporary anglophone and francophone fairy tales. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis compares contemporary anglophone and francophone rewritings of traditional fairy tales for adults. Examining material dating from the 1990s to the present, including novels, novellas, short stories, comics, televisual and filmic adaptations, this thesis argues that while the revisions studied share similar themes and have comparable aims, the methods for inducing wonder (where wonder is defined as the effect produced by the text rather than simply its magical contents) are diametrically opposed, and it is this opposition that characterises the difference between the two types of rewriting.
While they all engage with the hybridity of the fairy-tale genre, the anglophone works studied tend to question traditional narratives by keeping the fantasy setting, while francophone works debunk the tales not only in relation to questions of content, but also aesthetics. Through theoretical, historical, and cultural contextualisation, along with close readings of the texts, this thesis aims to demonstrate the existence of this francophone/anglophone divide and to explain how and why the authors in each tradition tend to adopt such different views while rewriting similar material.
This division is the guiding thread of the thesis and also functions as a springboard to explore other concepts such as genre hybridity, reader-response, and feminism. The thesis is divided into two parts; the first three chapters work as an in-depth literature review: after examining, in chapters one and two, the historical and contemporary cultural field in which these works were created, chapter three examines theories of fantasy and genre hybridity. The second part of the thesis consists of textual studies and comparisons between francophone and anglophone material and is built on three different approaches. The first (chapter four) looks at selected texts in relation to questions of form, studying the process of world building and world creation enacted when authors combine and rewrite several fairy tales in a single narrative world. The second (chapter five) is a thematic approach which investigates the interactions between femininity, the monstrous, and the wondrous in contemporary tales of animal brides. Finally, chapter six compares rewritings of the tale of ‘Bluebeard’ with a comparison hinged on the representation of the forbidden room and its contents: Bluebeard’s cabinet of wonder is one that he holds sacred, one where he sublimates his wives’ corpses, and it is the catalyst of wonder, terror, and awe.
The three contextual chapters and the three text-based studies work towards tracing the tangible existence of the division postulated between francophone and anglophone texts, but also the similarities that exist between the two cultural fields and their roles in the renewal of the fairy-tale genre.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: fairy tale, wonder, anglophone, francophone, rewriting, fantasy, bluebeard, metamorphosis, possible world, genre hybridity, feminism, popular culture, Grimm, Charles Perrault, Angela Carter, Amelie Nothomb, Pierre Dubois, Terry Pratchett, Marie Darrieussecq, Eric Chevillard, Robert Coover, Jack Zipes, Cristina Bacchilega.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Comparative Literature
Supervisor's Name: Martin, Dr. Laura and Grove, Prof. Laurence
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Emeline Morin
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7542
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2016 13:22
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2016 11:50
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7542

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