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.
Dr 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.