Old Tales Re-spun: Fairy Tales in Literature and Film

This interdisciplinary Honors Seminar discusses the structure, meaning, and function of fairy tales, and 

their enduring influence on popular culture. Both literature and film formats are considered. 

Seminar readings (required reading) 

“Sleeping Beauty” 

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and 

Chris Riddell

"Beauty and the Beast"

"Little Red Riding Hood" 


Seminar films (required viewing)

Maleficent (Robert Stromberg, 2014)

Beauty and the Beast (Jean Cocteau, 1946) 


Beauty and the Beast (Bill Condon, 2017)

Freeway (Matthew Bright, 1996)

Bluebeard (Catherine Breillat, 2009)

Useful but not required reading

"The Irresistible Psychology of Fairy Tales," by Ellen Handler Spitz

“How fairy tales have stood the test of time,” by Adam Ganz

Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tales, by Marina Warner

The Irresistible Fairy Tale: The Cultural and Social History of a Genre, by Jack Zipes

Useful (and fun) but not required viewing

Fractured Fairy Tales 


April 3

Introduction to fairy tales: oral and literary traditions, structure, themes, function, magical elements

→Assignment: read "Sleeping Beauty" (any version you choose) and The Sleeper and the Spindle, by Neil  

Gaiman and Chris Riddell (required graphic novel for this seminar)

Below are links to several versions of "Sleeping Beauty"; your choice isn't restricted to those listed:

Lit2Go (audio and text files)

Pittsburg University (multiple versions)

Project Gutenberg 

April 10

Discussion of “Sleeping Beauty” and The Sleeper and the Spindle

→Assignment: Watch Robert Stromberg’s Maleficent. 

April 17

Discussion of Maleficent / Presentation of “Beauty and the Beast”

→Assignment: Read "Beauty and the Beast" 

                      Project Gutenberg version

April 24

Viewing of Jean Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast

→Assignment: Watch Bill Condon’s 2017 Disney version of Beauty and the Beast

May 1

Discussion of Cocteau’s Beauty and the Beast and Bill Condon’s 2017 version for Disney

→Assignment: Read "Little Red Riding Hood"

                               Project Gutenberg version ("Little Red Cap")

May 8

Discussion of “Little Red Riding Hood” / Viewing of first half of Freeway

May 15

Viewing of second half of Freeway / Discussion

→Assignment: Read "Bluebeard"  

                      Project Gutenberg version 

May 22

Discussion of “Bluebeard” / Viewing of first half of Bluebeard

May 29

Viewing of second half of Bluebeard / Discussion 

June 5 and June 12

Oral presentations and discussion

Make a free website with Yola