Damsels in defence: feminist response writing in modern revisions of ‘Rapunzel’

Greenhough, Amy (2012) Damsels in defence: feminist response writing in modern revisions of ‘Rapunzel’. (MA(R) thesis), Kingston University, .

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Abstract

The tale of ‘Rapunzel’, made famous by the Grimms in 1812, has long been established as one of the most memorable princess fairy tales. Rapunzel’s long, golden hair, which acts as a ladder for her prince to climb, immortalised her in the psyche of the Western world, and yet, critics have often neglected her story and there are no major studies in English on the development of the tale through to the present day. A classic princess rescue narrative, the traditional tale has been criticised for its stereotypical images of women and its ‘damsel in distress’ motif, but in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries many writers, poets and filmmakers have attempted to challenge these stereotypes and to reimagine the story in the light of feminist debates. This thesis will be concerned with the development of the ‘Rapunzel’ tale from its earliest literary documentation as Basile’s ‘Petrosinella’ in Italy to the Grimms ‘Rapunzel’ in Germany, and then with the modern revisions of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in poetry, prose and film. I will be looking specifically at the way that the representations of women in the traditional versions altered as the tale moved through Europe, and then how the modern revisions have responded to these representations and to each other. I will be concerned with the ways in which the modern revisions challenge or enforce stereotypical images of women, as well as with the tale’s heterosexist assumptions, drawing on the socio-historical background which influenced the modern revisions, and asking how far these revisions can truly free Rapunzel from the patriarchal constraints of her story.

Item Type: Thesis (MA(R))
Physical Location: This item is held in stock at Kingston University library.
Research Area: English language and literature
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (until 2017)
Depositing User: Katrina Clifford
Date Deposited: 01 May 2013 09:17
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2018 11:47
URI: http://eprints.kingston.ac.uk/id/eprint/25601

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