Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Book: Anti-Tales: The Uses of Disenchantment

Anti-Tales: The Uses of Disenchantment

Anti-Tales: The Uses of Disenchantment was released earlier this year. I haven't seen it. I hadn't heard of it until I read the title in the Call for Papers that is also being posted today on this blog. So I had to learn more and being generous with that knowledge, share with you.

From the introduction:

Anti-Tales: The Uses of Disenchantment is the result of a two day symposium which took place at the University of Glasgow, 12-13 August 2010. Scholars and practitioners participated from a variety of disciplines,geographic locations and stages of career. One aim of the symposium was to secure the term “anti-tale” more thoroughly in an international and interdisciplinary scholarship. It followed attempts to define this term, historically by Robert Walser (1910) and André Jolles (1929), later by Wolfgang Mieder (1987, 2008) and John Pizer (1990), and most recently in David Calvin’s forthcoming doctoral thesis “No More Happily Ever After: The Anti-Fairy Tale in Postmodern Literature and Popular Culture”(University of Ulster, 2011).

Book description from the publisher:

The anti-(fairy) tale has long existed in the shadow of the traditional fairy tale as its flipside or evil twin. According to André Jolles in Einfache Formen (1930), such Antimärchen are contemporaneous with some of the earliest known oral variants of familiar tales. While fairy tales are generally characterised by a “spirit of optimism” (Tolkien) the anti-tale offers us no such assurances; for every “happily ever after,” there is a dissenting “they all died horribly.” The anti-tale is, however, rarely an outright opposition to the traditional form itself. Inasmuch as the anti-hero is not a villain, but may possess attributes of the hero, the anti-tale appropriates aspects of the fairy tale form, (and its equivalent genres) and re-imagines, subverts, inverts, deconstructs or satirises elements of these to present an alternate narrative interpretation, outcome or morality. In this collection, Little Red Riding Hood retaliates against the wolf, Cinderella’s stepmother provides her own account of events, and “Snow White” evolves into a postmodern vampire tale. The familiar becomes unfamiliar, revealing the underlying structures, dynamics, fractures and contradictions within the borrowed tales.

Over the last half century, this dissident tradition has become increasingly popular, inspiring numerous writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. Although anti-tales abound in contemporary art and popular culture, the term has been used sporadically in scholarship without being developed or defined. While it is clear that the aesthetics of postmodernism have provided fertile creative grounds for this tradition, the anti-tale is not just a postmodern phenomenon; rather, the “postmodern fairy tale” is only part of the picture. Broadly interdisciplinary in scope, this collection of twenty-two essays and artwork explores various manifestations of the anti-tale, from the ancient to the modern including romanticism, realism and surrealism along the way.

About the editors:

Catriona McAra is an AHRC doctoral candidate in History of Art at the University of Glasgow researching the work of Dorothea Tanning. She is particularly interested in intertextual theory, narratology, and the intersection between Surrealism and the fairy tale. Catriona organised the Anti-Tales symposium and is co-editor of this volume.

David Calvin is a doctoral candidate in the Languages and Literature department at the University of Ulster, Belfast. His PhD thesis is entitled “No More Happily Ever After: The Anti-Fairy Tale in Postmodern Literature and Popular Culture,” and has been instrumental in the reintroduction of the term “anti-tales” to current scholarship. He is co-editor of this volume.

Some blurbs:

“Books like Anti-Tales are important, taking a cold look at the complex, often dark affect at fairy tales and broadening the contemporary lens onto theories about their appearances in art, literature, film. The idea of anti-tale has been so important to me, and I’m delighted to see this volume enter the conversation and whisper its fragments of spells. The fairy tale is real; long live the anti-fairy-tale.”

—Kate Bernheimer, author of The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold and editor of My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales

“This valuable collection of essays, oriented around the idea of the ‘anti-tale,’ offers a much needed formal as well as analytic focus on the dark side of the fairy-tale genre.”

—Professor Aidan Day, University of Dundee

“The essays in this collection discuss an abundance of anti-tales from literature, film and art. Retellings, reimaginings and new tales from across centuries and around the world are all explored in relation to the critical term ‘anti-tale,’ uncovering new paths through the forest. Where the fairy tale leaves us with answers the anti-tale leaves us with questions and Anti-Tales: The Uses of Disenchantment is a valuable text for scholars, readers and writers who wish to engage with this wonderfully subversive form.”

—Claire Massey, Editor of New Fairy Tales

And a table of contents:

List of Illustrations
Introduction by Catriona McAra and David Calvin [1]

Part One: History and Definitions

The German Enlightenment and Romantic Märchen as Antimärchen by Laura Martin [18]

Reader Beware: Apuleius, Metafiction and the Literary Fairy Tale by Stijn Praet [37]

Some Notes on Intertextual Frames in Anti-Fairy Tales by Larisa Prokhorova [51]

Part Two: Twisted Film and Animation

Wonderland Lost and Found? Nonsensical Enchantment and Imaginative Reluctance in Revisionings of Lewis Carroll’s Alice Tales by Anna Kérchy [62]

The Forceful Imagination of Czech Surrealism: The Folkloric as Critical Culture by Suzanne Keller [75]

Bruno Schulz’s “Generatio Aequivoca”: Sites of (Dis)Enchantment in the Quay Brothers’ Street of Crocodiles by Suzanne Buchan [84]

Part Three: Surrealist Anti-Tales

“Blind Date”: Tanning’s Surrealist Anti-Tale by Catriona McAra [100]

The Luminary Forest: Robert Desnos and Unica Zürn’s Tales of (Dis)Enchantment and Transformation by Esra Plumer [115]

Paula Rego, Jane Eyre and the Re-Enchantment of Bluebeard by Helen Stoddart [130]

Part Four: Sensorial Anti-Tales

Visual Anti-Tales: The Phantasmagoric Prints of Francisco Goya and William Blake by Isabelle van den Broeke [142]

In the Realm of the Senses: Tomoko Konoike’s Visual Recasting of “Little Red Riding Hood” by Mayako Murai [152]

Part Five: Black Humour

The Phoney and the Real: Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes as Anti-Tales by Christina Murdoch [164]

“You Know How Happy Kings Are”: The Anti-Fairy Tales of James Thurber by John Patrick Pazdziora [173]

Landscapes of Anti-Tale Uncertainty: The Dark Knight by Deborah Knight [185]

Metamorphoric Enchantment in Rikki Ducornet’s Anti-Tales by Michelle Ryan-Sautour [203]

Part Six: Inverted (Anti-)Fairy Tales

Blood on the Snow: Inverting “Snow White” in the Vampire Tales of Neil Gaiman and Tanith Lee by Jessica Tiffin [220]

In Her Red-Hot Shoes: Re-Telling “Snow White” from the Queen’s Point of View by David Calvin [231]

In the Shadow of the Villain: Fairy Tale Villains Tell their Side of the Story by Mary Crocker Cook [246]

Exploding the Glass Bottles: Constructing the Postcolonial “Bluebeard” Tale in Nalo Hopkinson’s “The Glass Bottle Trick” by Natalie Robinson [253]

Part Seven: (Post) Modern Anti-Tales

A.S. Byatt and “The Djinn”: The Politics and Epistemology of the Anti-Tale by Defne Çizakça [264]

Margaret Atwood’s Anti-Fairy Tales: “There Was Once” and Surfacing by Sharon R. Wilson [275]

Modernism and the Disenchantment of Modernity in Katherine Mansfield and D.H. Lawrence by María Casado Villanueva [285]

Contributors [295]

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