GERMG051 - Writing and Rewriting Märchen and other Fantastic Tales

Value: 30 credits

Tutor: Dr Mererid Davies

Teaching structure: 

Assessment: one 6,000 word essay

Available to: MA students


Module Description:

This module compares and contrasts Märchen (or fairy tales) and other fantastic stories from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  Our texts deal with love relationships or marriages between humans and other kinds of non-human beings, or with other humans whose humanity is somehow suspect.  In many cases, the twentieth-century texts re-write the nineteenth-century tales, allowing us to trace the ways in which ideas about love, marriage, humanity, animals, monstrosity, gender roles and transformation develop over the modern period, as well as the changing meanings and forms of the Märchen and fantastic tales.


Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:

  • Ingeborg Bachmann, `Undine geht', in Bachmann, Das dreißigste Jahr (Munich: Piper, 1997)
  • Karen Duve, Regenroman (Berlin: Ullstein, 2001)
  • Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué, Undine (many editions, e.g. Munich: dtv, 1999; Stuttgart: Reclam UB 491)
  • Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm and other authors: versions of ‘Blaubart’; ‘Der Froschkönig’, e.g. in Brüder Grimm, Kinder und Hausmärchen. Ausgabe letzter Hand (Stuttgart: Reclam) (Reclam UB 05391); or Ausgewählte Kinder- und Hausmärchen (Stuttgart: Reclam) (Reclam UB 3179). NB: Since these are such short texts, students may not want to purchase the whole collection unless they are particularly interested in Märchen or the Grimms. The individual tales will be made available on Moodle. In addition, we will read other (short) variants of ‘Blaubart’ and ‘Froschkönig’, which will also be available via Moodle.
  • E.T.A. Hoffmann, Der goldne Topf. Ein Mährchen aus der neuen Zeit (many editions e.g. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1987; Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2002) (Suhrkamp BasisBibliothek 31)
  • Patrick Süskind, Das Parfüm. Die Geschichte eines Mörders (Zurich: Diogenes, 2000)
  • Max Frisch, Blaubart (Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp, 1982).