Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms

Trangressive Tales: Queering the Grimms book launch at Plug In ICA

September 18, 2013 – 7pm to 11pm

Plug In ICA is pleased to join forces with the Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Winnipeg for the launch ofTransgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms on Wednesday, September 18th at 7:00 pm at Plug In ICA.

The stories in the Grimm brothers’ Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Children’s and Household Tales), first published in 1812 and 1815, have come to define academic and popular understandings of the fairy tale genre. Yet over a period of forty years, the brothers, especially Wilhelm, revised, edited, sanitized, and bowdlerized the tales, publishing the seventh and final edition in 1857 with many of the sexual implications removed. However, the contributors in Transgressive Tales: Queering the Grimms demonstrate that the Grimms and other collectors paid less attention to ridding the tales of non-heterosexual implications and that, in fact, the Grimms’ tales are rich with queer possibilities.

Editors Kay Turner and Pauline Greenhill introduce the volume with an overview of the tales’ literary and interpretive history, surveying their queerness in terms of not just sex, gender and sexuality, but also issues of marginalization, oddity, and not fitting into society. In three thematic sections, contributors then consider a range of tales and their queer themes. In Faux Femininities, essays explore female characters, and their relationships and feminine representation in the tales. Contributors to Revising Rewritings consider queer elements in rewritings of the Grimms’ tales, including Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, Jeanette Winterson’s Twelve Dancing Princesses, and contemporary reinterpretations of both “Snow White” and “Snow White and Rose Red.” Contributors in the final section, Queering the Tales, consider queer elements in some of the Grimms’ original tales and explore intriguing issues of gender, biology, patriarchy, and transgression.

With the variety of unique perspectives in Transgressive Tales, readers will find new appreciation for the lasting power of the fairy-tale genre. Scholars of fairy-tale studies and gender and sexuality studies will enjoy this thought-provoking volume.

Kay Turner is adjunct professor of performance studies at New York University, teaching courses on oral narrative theory and queer theory, with an emphasis on the fairy tale. She is also Folk Arts Director at the Brooklyn Arts Council. Her other books include Beautiful Necessity: The Art and Meaning of Women’s Altars and Baby Precious Always Shines: Love Notes Between Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein.

Pauline Greenhill is professor of women’s and gender studies at the University of Winnipeg. Her most recent books are Make the Night Hideous: Four English-Canadian Charivaris, 1881-1940; Fairy Tale Films: Visions of Ambiguity (with Sidney Eve Matrix, co-editor); and Encyclopedia of Women’s Folklore and Folklife (with Liz Locke and Theresa Vaughan, co-editors).

Contributors: Emilie Anderson-Grégoire, Cristina Bacchilega, Anita Best, Joy Brooke Fairfield, Andrew J. Friedenthal, Kevin Goldstein, Pauline Greenhill, Bettina Hutschek, Jeana Jorgensen, Kimberly J. Lau, Elliot Gordon Mercer, Margaret A. Mills, Jennifer Orme, Catherine Tosenberger, Kay Turner, Margaret R. Yocom