CFP: Fairy Tale Visions and (Re)Visions (9/15/06; NEMLA, 3/1/07-3/4/07)

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Panel Title:
Fairy Tale Visions and (Re)Visions

NeMLA Conference: Baltimore, MD
Conference Dates: 03/01/07-03/04/07
Proposals due to Panel Chair by: 09/15/06

Panel Description:
This panel will focus on contemporary fairy tales as invented or reinvented by critically acclaimed writers of the 20th century to the present. I invite papers that explore contemporary fairy tales in various forms, including the novel, novella, short story, or poetry. Writers of interest include, but are not limited to, Anne Sexton, Angela Carter, Gregory Maguire, A.S. Byatt, Philip Pullman, Jane Yolen, Emma Donoghue, and others.
Panel Abstract:
In Donald Haase's "Yours, Mine, or Ours? Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and the Ownership of Fairy Tales", he asserts that "fairy tales […] hold a revered if not sacred place in modern Western culture." Not only does each generation's set of tales reflect its prevailing morals, beliefs, and cultural heritage, but each succeeding creator holds an "ownership" over the genre. He concludes his piece by exploring ways in which we can "save" the fairy tale, and his emphasis on continuous reinvention of archetypal stories provides one compelling way to keep tales alive for future generations and to continue the tradition whereby each generation mirrors itself through its tales.
I am interested, therefore, in assembling a panel in which the presenters will provide an assessment of our current age's fairy tales. Through these visions and (re)visions, authors are making their mark with literary works grounded in the oral tradition. This panel is significant because exploration of contemporary tales through literary criticism is somewhat lacking in comparison to criticism of other forms of fiction, and the topic is of interest to those teaching myth, fairy tale, folklore, adolescent, and children's literature
I would like to receive papers on a variety of subjects and authors, including, but not limited to, Anne Sexton's work in Transformations, Angela Carter's collection The Bloody Chamber, Gregory Maguire's Wicked, Son of a Witch, Mirror, Mirror, and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister. Papers on A.S. Byatt would certainly be considered, for her "fairy stories" in The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye are all postmodern creations, and her nod to fairy tale conventions and motifs is clear in other short pieces and embedded in her novels as well. More recently, Emma Donoghue's collection Kissing the Witch provides a very refreshing look at gender and linguistic patterns.
Even writers who are "known more" as writers for children, despite their appeal to all ages, are responsible for reinventions of tales through their work; in particular, Philip Pullman, known primarily for the His Dark Materials trilogy, has explored different narrative styles and settings through his works Clockwork, or All Wound Up, The Scarecrow and His Servant, I Was a Rat! , and The Firework-Maker's Daughter.
Jane Yolen, Shannon Hale, and others are also writers who bridge adolescent and adult literature in their fairy tale creations, and analysis of their work would be intriguing.
The list goes on of writers who have re-imagined classic fairy tale motifs into new creations, and in each work lies a nod to the past tradition of tales and an awareness of the present. In this way our contemporary authors are clearly making their mark of ownership on fairy tales, and through our discussion and continued awareness of these texts, we can surely "save" the fairy tale and keep its tradition alive, yet constantly evolving.

If you are interested in being considered, please submit a 1-2 page proposal of your paper to the panel chair as soon as possible. Final date for consideration is September 15, 2006. I prefer email submissions.

Panel Chair contact information:

Susan R. Bobby (
Assistant Professor of English
Wesley College
120 N. State St.
Dover, DE 19901

Summer contact: Please use to send proposals or inquiries up until August 28th, 2006, at which time you may use the address.

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Received on Thu Jun 15 2006 - 07:46:25 EDT