In Search of Cupid and Psyche: Myth and
Legend in Children's Literature
For the traditional literature section of this course, students are
required to read no fewer than seven versions (a very "MC"--mythologically
correct--number) of traditional folktales and fairytales. Discussion questions
will center upon the following tales with which students must demonstrate
familiarity (though not contempt). Nonetheless, students are also encouraged
to extend their readings into folktales and/or fairytales not cited
below, making appropriate connections in journal entries and Webboard discussions.This
chapter of the course is designed to last from Week 4 -- Week 6
Beauty and the Beast
All versions are acceptable. See for example
The Illustrated Book of Fairy Tales: Spellbinding stories from around
the world, retold by Neil Philip; illustrated by Nilesh Mistry (London:
DK Publishing, 1997)
Beauty and the Beast Retold by Jan Carr; illustrated by Katy Bratun
(New York: Scholastic, 1993).
Shining Lodge: a Blackfoot Tale. A Harvest of World Folk Tales,
edited by Milton Rugoff (New York: Viking, 1971): p. 108-110. A related
tale, Falling Star, was particularly popular among the Cheyenne.
All versions are acceptable. See the hypertext version on Kay Vandergrift's
immensely helpful Snow
Son of The Tortoise
This is a Zulu tale. I have put on "reserve" a version retold by Phyllis Savory,
in Classic African Children's Stories: A Collection of Ancient Tales,
edited and compiled by Phyllis Savory. (New York: Citadel, 1995): 24-28.
The best known of this African folktale is by Chinua Achebe (The Drum.
Nairobi, Kenya: Heinemann Kenya, 1980); but there are other lively versions
of interest as well, including one by Okechukwu K. Uorji in The
Adventures of Torti: Tales from West Africa (Trenton: World Press,
The Pot From The River
Another popular African folktale. A good version appears in Cyprian Ekwensi's
collection The Great Elephant Bird. Nairobi, Kenya: Heinemann Kenya,
The Talking Eggs
This is an African-American version topologically related to the above
title. Robert D. San Souci published a wonderful version--it earned a Caldecott
Honor Book because of Jerry Pinkney's illustrations--(New York: Dial, 1989).
Toads & Diamonds
Yet another version of the universal tale type ("The Kind and Unkind Sisters")to
which the preceding two titles belong. The earliest version in children's
literature seems to have been Charles Perrault's, and the most recent Charlotte
Huck's, published as Toads & Diamonds, retold by Charlotte Huck;
pictures by Anita Lobel. New York: Greenwillow, 1996. Kate Greenaway illustrated
another version in the nineteenth century, entitled Diamonds and Toads,
and the McLoughlin Bros., the New York picture book publisher, issued several
other versions and one Greenaway piracy.
The Frog Prince
First written down in the nineteenth century by the Brothers Grimm, any
version of the tale, current or historical, will suffice. Again, a workmanlike
version appears in The Illustrated Book of Fairy Tales: Spellbinding
stories from around the world, retold by Neil Philip; illustrated by
Nilesh Mistry (London: DK Publishing, 1997)
Another French tale first committed to paper by Charles Perrault. Any version
will do. Philip's retelling acceptable. The Illustrated Book of Fairy
Tales: Spellbinding stories from around the world, retold by Neil Philip;
illustrated by Nilesh Mistry (London: DK Publishing, 1997).
Retold and perhaps reinvented by Perrault; attributed to the Chinese. See
the very useful website. Cinderella
Project mounted at the University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg.
East of the Sun, West of the Moon
An annotated version of this Norwegian fairy-tale at Surlalune. If this is of interest, check out the Surlalune page of
Modern interpretations of East of the Sun, and the brief
is a myth? (various authors, incl. Northrop
Leeming, and S.H.
Hooke): An introduction to several useful and recombinant defintions
of mythology from various sources.
elements (Joseph): Mythic elements (characters, plots, settings, time)
crucial to our continuing investigations. I have drawn these from Apuleius.
Structure of Myths", chapter one in Myth and Reality, by Mircea
Eliade (New York: Harper, 1963): Eliade's focus upon mythology beyond the
customary Western orbit is very pertinent for us.
and Mythology" (Bryan S. Rennie); from his Reconstructing Eliade:
Making Sense of Religion. Albany, NY: University Press of NY, 1996.
A discussion of Eliade's notions of mythology within the context of contemprary
thought. Rennie emphasizes the relevance of Eliade's thoughts about myth
and traditional societies to an understanding of modern thought and behavior.
of Beauty and the Beast, (Joseph): Reasserts the mythic context for
viewing images in traditional literature.
as Monster Husband, (Joseph): Considers the paradoxical nature of Cupid.
Griswold, Jerome. The Meanings of "Beauty and the Beast": A Handbook. New York?: Broadview Press, 2004.
Hearne, Betsy. Beauty and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of an Old
Tale. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1989.
The Oxford Companion to Fairy Tales: The Western fairy tale tradition from medieval to modern, edited by Jack Zipes. New York: Oxford UP, 2000.
Literature A website created by Kay E. Vandergrift, with useful readings
in folktale and fairytale, and links to other enlightening digital resources
on the Web.