Gothicising the Fairy Tale: Monstrous Cinderellas in Angela Carter and Ali Shaw

The Language and Communication research cluster is delighted to welcome our new colleague Dr Carina Hart, for a presentation on Gothicising the Fairy Tale: Monstrous Cinderellas in Angela Carter and Ali Shaw.

When? Tuesday, 6th November 2018, 16.00 – 17.00

Where? Room PAG02, Middlesex University, London NW4 4BT

The emergence of the Gothic in late eighteenth-century Europe coincided with a revival of interest in traditional fairy tales, and the two forms have remained in dialogue ever since, sharing settings, narrative structures and motifs. Contemporary writers have Gothicised the fairy tale for a new generation, questioning the value of old narratives in a changed world.

This talk will examine one of Carter’s less-researched Gothic fairy tales, “Ashputtle, or The Mother’s Ghost” (1987), and the matrophobic Gothic elements it draws out of the Cinderella tale’s obscure older versions. Here the Gothic becomes a critical tool with which the text can interrogate the sociopolitical forces that have influenced the endurance or disappearance of different elements in the Cinderella tale tradition.

Carter’s re-Gothicisation of the Cinderella tale creates a feminist text interconnected with its political contexts; millennial Gothic fairy tales, however, show a clear move away from political agency into individualism, as seen in Ali Shaw’s Gothic retelling of Cinderella, The Girl with Glass Feet (2009). The monstrous feminine here is re-sublimated into silence, stillness and sexualised beauty, turning the female Gothic against the heroine in an example of a wider retreat from late-twentieth-century feminism.

Bio:

carina.jpgDr Carina Hart is a Lecturer in English Literature at Middlesex University, having previously taught at the University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus, Nottingham Trent University and the University of East Anglia, where she completed her PhD. She has published on A. S. Byatt’s fairy tale fiction, alchemy in contemporary fiction, and Romantic poetry, and is working on a monograph titled Beastly Beauties: The Contemporary Gothic Fairy Tale. Her collection of poetry, Your Brain Cells Sing When They Die, will be published by Eyewear in 2019.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

Click here to see all 2018-19 Language & Communication research seminars.

The long stories of short tales: genes, languages and the evolution of folk traditions (new date)

The Language and Communication Research cluster is delighted to welcome the acclaimed anthropologist Dr Jamie Tehrani (Durham University) for a presentation on the long stories of short tales: genes, languages and the evolution of folk traditions.

When? Tuesday 30th January 2018, 16.00 – 17.30

Where? Room CG83 (College building), Middlesex University, Hendon campus

Many fairy tales are believed to be derived from oral folk traditions, some of which exhibit remarkable continuities across cultures. Versions of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood – to take two famous examples – have been recorded in places as diverse as Italy, England, China and Antigua. The question of when and where these so-called “international tale types” originated and how they spread is one that has preoccupied folkorists since the time of the Brothers Grimm. In this talk I will show how some answers can be gleaned by integrating cross-cultural patterns in folktales with data from population genetics and historical linguistics. I will also discuss some of the cultural and psychological properties that might make certain kinds of stories particularly “catchy” and memorable, enabling them to survive the wear-and-tear of oral transmission over so many generations and across such vast distances.

Biography

Jamie Tehrany’s research focuses on how culture evolves as it gets transmitted from person to person and from generation to generation. He is interested in understanding what makes some things catch on, others die out, and how these processes shape patterns of cultural diversity within and across populations. Dr Tehrany was trained in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics (1995 – 1999) and gained a Master’s degree in Human Evolution and Behaviour at University College London (2000). He remained at UCL to study for a PhD in Anthropology (2005), writing his thesis on the transmission of craft traditions in Iranian tribal groups. In 2006 he took up a postdoctoral research fellowship at the AHRC Centre for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity (CECD) at University College London, before joining Durham in 2007 as a RCUK Fellow, where he was appointed as a Lecturer in Anthropology in 2012, and then Senior Lecturer in 2014. His current work focuses mainly on the transmission of popular narratives, such as traditional folktales, urban legends and modern day conspiracy theories.

This presentation was originally planned for last November but had to be rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.

For a full list of all 2018 seminars, click here.

The long stories of short tales: genes, languages and the evolution of folk traditions

The Language and Communication Research cluster is delighted to welcome the acclaimed anthropologist Dr Jamie Tehrani (Durham University) for a presentation on the long stories of short tales: genes, languages and the evolution of folk traditions.

When? Monday 13th November 2017, 16.30 – 18.00

Where? Room C138 (College building), Middlesex University, Hendon campus

Many fairy tales are believed to be derived from oral folk traditions, some of which exhibit remarkable continuities across cultures. Versions of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood – to take two famous examples – have been recorded in places as diverse as Italy, England, China and Antigua. The question of when and where these so-called “international tale types” originated and how they spread is one that has preoccupied folkorists since the time of the Brothers Grimm. In this talk I will show how some answers can be gleaned by integrating cross-cultural patterns in folktales with data from population genetics and historical linguistics. I will also discuss some of the cultural and psychological properties that might make certain kinds of stories particularly “catchy” and memorable, enabling them to survive the wear-and-tear of oral transmission over so many generations and across such vast distances”

Biography

Jamie Tehrany’s research focuses on how culture evolves as it gets transmitted from person to person and from generation to generation. He is interested in understanding what makes some things catch on, others die out, and how these processes shape patterns of cultural diversity within and across populations. Dr Tehrany was trained in Social Anthropology at the London School of Economics (1995 – 1999) and gained a Master’s degree in Human Evolution and Behaviour at University College London (2000). He remained at UCL to study for a PhD in Anthropology (2005), writing his thesis on the transmission of craft traditions in Iranian tribal groups. In 2006 he took up a postdoctoral research fellowship at the AHRC Centre for the Evolution of Cultural Diversity (CECD) at University College London, before joining Durham in 2007 as a RCUK Fellow, where he was appointed as a Lecturer in Anthropology in 2012, and then Senior Lecturer in 2014. His current work focuses mainly on the transmission of popular narratives, such as traditional folktales, urban legends and modern day conspiracy theories.

The Language and Communication Research Seminars are free and open to all staff, students and guests. For any questions or if you would like to lead a session, contact Anna Charalambidou.