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current students > seminars > fall 2011 schedule > seminar: Inquiry, Discovery, and Literature


Honors Seminars Fall 2011

Inquiry, Discovery, and Literature

HON 202 Sec:004  
3 hours  
GER Cat:
Humanities: Literature  
Winston Hall 00012  
Dr. Laura L. Linker

In this section of Honors 202, we will read several influential writers of fairy tales, including, among others, Giovan Franceso Straparola, Marie-Catherine d'Aulnoy, Henriette Julie de Murat, and Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Along with reading and interpreting the tales, we'll look at the oral traditions and cultures that helped to form the genre, consider why different versions of the tales emerged, and investigate why some tales do not end as happily as others do. Over the semester, we'll cover a range of topics from clever thieves to bloodthirsty husbands and question the notion of a "moral to the story." Students will encounter familiar fairy tales still prevalent in popular culture and children's books, like "Hansel and Gretel," along with tales less often retold. We'll think about why some fairy tales persist over time, while others do not, and we'll end the course by considering the role fairy tales play in shaping our cultural imagination, particularly through film. In addition to taking midterm and final exams, students will write a paper that closely examines one fairy tale; participate in regular large and small group discussions; and write a fairy tale. Since the genre emerged from oral traditions, students will read their story aloud and reflect on the storytelling process. In our final class session, we will think about some of the values communicated in the stories written for the course and compare them to what we've seen in earlier writers and tales.