World Mythologies and Folktales/ Mythologies and Folktales of the World: Literary Interpretations
Organizer: Nivin El Asdoudi
Co-Organizer: Doaa Omran
“The relationship between myth and literature is …problematic…On the one hand, myth is a sub-category of literature, on the other hand, it is a more general form of it”(Kenan).The complex relationship between myth/ folktales and literature has always been the concern of critics and writers. Borghes, for example, states that “myth is at the beginning of literature and at its end.” In Dreamtigers, he argues that there is always a tension between reality and fiction in works of literature that have myths, folktales or romances at their heart. He arrives at the conclusion that time can blur the difference between reality and fiction and that fiction can easily turn into myth over time, as in Don Quixote. Myths have always inspired writers from different periods and cultures such as Callimachus, Cavafy, Rilke, Banker and El Hakim. The attitude towards myths and folktales vary from one author to another. While medievalism influenced Tolkein’s mythology in Lord of the Rings, the debunking of folktales and fairytales was the main purpose of Marie de France and Carter. Writers such as Achebe and Asturias drew heavily on African and South American folklore in order to offer the reader a post-colonial counter-discourse. Myths and folktales can be also found at the core of magical realist works or works with magical realist elements such as in the case of Okri’s and Oddoul’s writings.
The aim of this panel is to explore adaptations of myths and folktales in world literature whether classical, medieval, modern or contemporary. We seek papers that analyze these literary works from a comparative perspective. Comparisons of literary adaptations /re-readings /questionings or debunking of myths and folktales from different cultures and /or periods are highly encouraged. Modes of reading include but are not restricted to the following:
- Structuralist /Poststructuralist
Some of the key questions include:
- How do writers use re-readings of myths /folktales as a tool to challenge or consolidate notions of gender and in what way is their cultural background a decisive element?
- How do women writers deploy myths /folktales as a means of feminist empowerment?
- How do magical realist authors use myths/folktales as sources of magic in their writings?
- How do authors employ myths /folktales as sub-texts that define their attitude towards nationalism and in what way does a comparative reading highlight this issue?
Submission : through ACLA website by September 23rd.