Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Anti-Tales: The Uses of Disenchantment Symposium

Anti-Tales: The Uses of Disenchantment Symposium will be taking place on August 12-13 at the University of Glasgow.  (That's the same weekend as Faerie Escape in Atlanta, by the way, so lots of opportunities available.)

I am going to copy and paste the entire description for your interest in case the page is taken down later:

An interdisciplinary research forum and subsequent publication of proceedings (Cambridge Scholars Publishing) based around the currently under-researched notion of the 'anti-tale' to be held at the University of Glasgow, 12-13 August 2010.

Our confirmed plenary speakers are Dr. Anna Kérchy (Senior Assistant Professor, University of Szeged) and Professor Aidan Day (Professor of English at the University of Dundee). Our resident artist is Robert Powell (Edinburgh College of Art).

The anti-fairy tale has long existed as a shadow of the traditional fairy tale genre. First categorized as the 'antimärchen' in Andre Jolles' seminal Einfache Formen (c.1930), the anti-tale was found to be contemporaneous with even the oldest known examples of fairy tale collections. Rarely an outward opposition to the traditional form itself, the anti-tale takes aspects of the fairy tale genre and re-imagines, subverts, inverts, deconstructs or satirizes elements of them to present an alternate narrative interpretation, outcome or morality. Red Riding Hood may elope with the wolf. Or Bluebeard's wife is not interested in his secret chamber. Snow White's stepmother gives her own account of events and Cinderella does not exactly find the prince charming.

The anti-fairy tale takes many forms. Some revisit and deconstruct familiar narratives (as above) or formulate new stories, characters and ever-afters, relying on and subverting familiar archetypes and plot devices. Following Jolles' seminal, respected text, the subgenre of the anti-tale has become dominant, as writers such as Angela Carter, Neil Gaiman and Phillip Pullman, artists such as Kiki Smith, Anna Gaskell and Kara Walker, and filmmakers such as Matthew Bright and Jane Campion have produced a diverse collage of anti-tales.

However, despite this creative surge, there has not been adequately attendant academic engagement with the genre. Respected academics such as Wolfgang Meider, John Pizer, Jack Zipes and Cristina Bacchilega, have all touched on the concept without developing it further – the concept being outside the parameters of their usual research interests. Following our current use, revival and redefinition of Jolles' nomenclature we invite others to consider their research material through the critical lens of the anti-tale.

We believe the concept to be exciting and under-developed, and that this project will stimulate a rich new investigative field of study. This project is interdisciplinary in its scope, and we have received proposals from a diverse range of disciplines including scholars and students from: Literature, History of Art, Media/ Film Studies, Philosophy, Creative Writing, and Geography. Our call for new research on 'anti-tales' is intended to provoke creative, imaginative responses, and we are looking forward to a very promising conference!

Learned about this via The Fairy Tale Cupboard who is participating in the symposium.

1 comment:

  1. Now that they mention it, it probably is an under-represented field of study. But that's almost amazing, since just about everything published about fairy tales these days fits into that descriptive category! The new fiction widget on this site itself is a good example.