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Marvelous Geometry

Narrative and Metafiction in Modern Fairy Tale

Jessica Tiffin

Publication Year: 2009

Explores self-consciousness and metafictional awareness in modern fairy tale and its expression across literary fairy tale, popular fairy tale, and fairy-tale film.

Published by: Wayne State University Press

Series: Series in Fairy-Tale Studies

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p. vii-vii

Eternal thanks to Lesley Marx, who has been an invaluable source of support, encouragement, advice and meticulous reading over many years, as well as dealing with adverbs above and beyond the call of duty. I am also deeply grateful to Cristina Bacchilega for recommend-ing the manuscript for publication, and to her, Don Haase, and all my ...

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1. Telling Theoretical Tales

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pp. 1-30

Within the development of Western literary and media forms and narratives across the twentieth century and into the twenty first is a recurring and powerful thread of fairy tale. The traditional narratives of folklore, refracted through the literary developments of earlier centuries and into the literary and popular forms of a more technological age...

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2. Nice and Neat and Formal: James Thurber

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pp. 31-64

It seems a little strange to identify in James Thurber, New Yorker humorist, essayist, and cartoonist, a fairy-tale writer with a cogent and particularly self-conscious awareness of the genre. Thurber is very much an American institution, best known for his vast body of essays, short stories, fables, plays, cartoons, and illustrated poetry...

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3. The Bloodied Text: Angela Carter

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pp. 65-100

Angela Carter has made the metafictional arena of fairy tale and folktale very much her own; while only The Bloody Chamber, her 1979 collection of short stories, offers sustained and explicit fairytale reworking, she has also translated and edited collections of fairy tales, in the two Virago volumes and in her own translation...

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4. Caught in a Story: A. S. Byatt

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pp. 101-130

The award of the Booker Prize to A. S. Byatt’s novel Possession: A Romance in 1990 cemented Byatt’s position as a literary figure and sparked the steady stream of academic attention which has greeted both Possession and Byatt’s other works. An intensely intellectual and literary writer, Byatt betrays in all her works an interest...

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5. Structured Sword and Sorcery: The Popular Fairy Tales of Lee, Pratchett, and Tepper

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pp. 131-178

Fairy tale has traditionally found easy and successful expression in modern popular contexts—it is a simple, recognizable, and symbolically powerful form of narrative easily adaptable to a range of texts from advertising and romance novels to the Hollywood film. In particular, any approach to fairy tale in terms of its self-aware...

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6. Magical Illusion: Fairy-Tale Film

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pp. 179-218

Film versions of fairy tale are inevitable, given the extreme adaptability shown by fairy-tale structures across the centuries, and its ability to continually reinvent its voices, settings, and message as well as its medium of expression. As with the adaptation of oral folktale into written literature, the adaptation of written literature into...

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7. “Happily Ever After”: Fairy Tale as Popular Parody

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pp. 219-234

I hope this survey across the marvelous geometry of modern fairy tale has served to demonstrate the vitality and the proliferation of fairy-tale forms in twentieth-century literature and film. The huge range of contexts in which fairy-tale structures are self-consciously employed suggests that in recent expressions the form...


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pp. 235-248


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pp. 249-253

E-ISBN-13: 9780814335727
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814332627

Page Count: 264
Publication Year: 2009

Edition: 1
Volume Title: N/a
Series Title: Series in Fairy-Tale Studies