lotesse: (myth)
Heard the most fantastic lecture last night from Marina Warner, whose book From the Beast to the Blonde I had a passionate love affair with some years back. She talked about Freud's Smyrna Rug, and the Arabian Nights, and the connections between dreaming and sex and storytelling and psychic healing.

I fangirled at her briefly after; I totally want to be her when I grow up.

Blog rec:

10 Jul 2010 05:06 pm
lotesse: (snow white)
Disney Princess Recovery, a fascinating (and well-written!) blog by a progressive educated mother trying to extricate her little girl from the clutches of the Princess-Industrial Complex. I've been reading it all afternoon.
lotesse: (nussknacker)
(I will start making eeping noises about yuletide signups once I've had the chance to do some notebooking and figure out what on earth I'm going to offer and request this year. November already! It snuck up on me this year.)

For anyone who speaks German - or for anyone who's a Hoffmann nerd - is there a standard English translation of "Nussknacker und Mausekonig"? One that's trustworthy? I'm making plans to take the Baby to the University ballet next month, and I wanted to beef up on the Hoffmann story. Besides which, I remember liking it a great deal as a kid, and it would be fun to read again. But from my fiddling around on the net, it looks like there's a bunch of "based on"s and not very many faithful translations. And I don't want a kiddie version!
lotesse: (fairytale - snow white)
I heard A.S. Byatt speak at the University this afternoon, which was just unspeakbly lovely - she's absolutely charming, and from the excerpt that she read, I think her new novel The Children's Book sounds fantastic.

The following is something she said at the Q&A preceding the reading, which I liked so much that I recorded it on my little camera and then transcribed:

When I was a child it was the fairy stories I liked reading, it was the stories about things that were not real but were more real than real. And so it gives you in a sense the possibility of telling - I don't like the word spiritual but cosmic - truths, or truths about the nature of things which is harder to do when you're writing about men and women cooking lunch for each other - or even making love to each other. It's a different world; I like that. I like the rules that there are to fairy story worlds.

The English Writer Angela Carter said in the 1970s that she'd been trying to write realist novels about social behaviors for years and suddenly realized that actually she wrote because she had lived in this other world of fairy stories. And what I've found is that I'm happy putting the one world into the other world and juxtaposing them, because that's how you actually live - the things that you read are both more real and more unreal than your daily life. And there was a point particularly when I got to writing possession when I couldn't go on writing and then he sat down at the table and took up his knife and fork without also writing there were two little girls who went through the forest like Hansel and Gretel. But if I combine them, for me, I can make the knife and fork look more interesting because it's next to the forest, if you see what I mean.


le sigh. Now I am off to make spinach and feta pie for dinner. Maybe with a little bit of pesto?
lotesse: (fairytale - snow white)
If there's one point that I continue to waffle about with wrt fairytales, it's their fitness as feminist or woman-positive artifacts. I took them as such in my thesis last year in a tradition of thirdwave/minority feminist concepts of wholeness, subversion, and reappropriation - but I still haven't completely shaken my anxieties.

Okay, but. I was reading fairytale stuff this afternoon, for no particular reason, and I'm just going to go ahead and quote at length.

From Maria Tatar, Off With Their Heads!: Fairy Tales and the Culture of Childhood )

And here's my thought: if patriarchy feels like it has to contort itself into such utterly bizarre readings of fairy tales, there's got to be something scary, something major, hidden there. Obviously the tales as they stand are for some reason deeply offensive to the literary sensibility of the patriarch. And I figure, anything those guys are so scared of is probably something I want a closer acquaintance with.

If fairy tales were simply and fundamentally patriarchal, male critical responses to them would be equally simple. As Tatar points out, though, they're not. Dudely philosophes apparently couldn't just let fairy tales stand. And in order to sanitize them, they had to resort to Orwellian doublespeak: oh, these stories obviously mean the exact opposite of anything you'd expect! Abandoned children? No, those are clearly horrid brats who drive their parents to distraction! It's victim blaming, and it's crazy, and its presence indicates a latent power in fairy tales.

Sometimes you can best see your allies by noticing who's furthest away from your enemies.
lotesse: (fairytale - snow white)
So I'm pretty deep in work on my Honors thesis on the stories in the Donkeyskin tale-type. It's been much easier since I swallowed my doubts last week and committed myself to a feminist analysis. I have a tendency to get very anxious about my feminist readings, and to want to hedge, but the truth of the matter is that I really do experience Shakespeare and fairy tales as feminist pieces, albeit ones with problems sometimes. It's so much easier to tear down than to build up - I think my life would be simpler if I could just bully myself into buying the "Princess stories as tools of negative gender socialization" line, but it's just not how I feel, and I can't go against my gut like that. Princess stories were important to me as a little girl, and are important to me now, and that's not brainwashing and I can prove it!

Actually, I'm still sort of riding the high of figuring out that I can use Mary Wollstonecraft, and her analysis of the oppression of upper-class women through brutal, infantilizing "protection." Because I've got a Princess who runs away to become a scullery maid, and Wollstonecraft allows me to read that as a narrative of finding strength. And I like strength in my Princesses.

The little cat really, really wants to sleep on my laptop. Right now we've compromised on him laying his chin over the upper right hand corner, so that I have to reach under him every time I want to get to the delete button. It makes typing fairly interesting.

I sort of can't believe that Supernatural starts up again in two days. I'm excited, and a little bit terrified. I have no idea where we're going now, and I love it, but oh boys. I get very nervy on their behalf. Also, Sammy had better still be psychic, because I get off on powers!Sam embarrassingly hard.

Cat now covering half the keyboard. Must sign off. I love you all, fandom.
lotesse: (Briar-Rose)
A pretty thing I found in a book today, copied out here both because I want to remember it and because I thought the Supernatural girls might find it interesting:

"Salt has a double aspect. In alchemy, salt is the symbol of wisdom, but it also has a stinging quality of bitterness - the bitterness of the sea comes from the salt in it. Wisdom, wit, bitterness, and Eros - all that is associated with salt. Jung says this has to do with a specific feminine feeling of love: when a woman is disappointed in love, she becomes either bitter or wise."

-Marie-Louise Von Franz, "Animus and Anima in Fairy Tales"
lotesse: (Briar-Rose)
A meme, from [livejournal.com profile] emei
Drop me a comment and I will give you 3 interests on your list, and 3 of your icons, for you to explain. Here are mine.

Interests:

litslash - I feel like something of a fannish oddity at times, because my dearest-loved fandoms are textual, closed, and old. If I could find a fan community for Prydain or the Secret Garden or LeGuin that was as active as media fandoms, I'd be there in a flash. (The slash part of this interest has moved omnisexual in recent months. Don't care if they're boys or girls, just want the fic and the meta and the community)

acafan - I got into fandom young, and started hanging around the big girls' journals, the ones who were in grad school and who talked about Derrida. Which meant that I learned literary theory as a kid, from fen, in reference to hobbit sex. It's a great way to go.

donkeyskin - a fairy tale about a Princess whose father wants to marry her. She asks for three gowns as radiant as the moon, as shining as the stars, and as golden as the sun, and then puts on an animal skin to make her escape. She flees to a neighboring kingdom where she lives as an animal-girl, working in the palace scullery. The prince gives three balls: he's looking for a wife. She goes each night, but then flees back to her animal skin. He finds her out by a ring she gave him, and marries her. I'm doing my senior honors work on it next year - it's unique. A girl takes on an animal disguise in order to find positive sexuality and freedom. I don't know what's going on, but I love it.

And icons:



Tia Dalma was my favorite thing in Dead Man's Chest. She's a wonderful combination of things that I find fascinting, love and ships and fortune and foresight and the sea. She's so beautiful that I can't breathe whenever she's on the screen. So there was no way I wasn't going to have Tia Dalma icons. The text is Emily Dickinson, Nor noticed that the Ebbing Day Flowed silver to the West -- Nor noticed Night did soft descend -- Nor Constellation burn -- Intent upon the vision Of latitudes unknown.



Helena Bonham Carter as Olivia in Twelfth Night. I frelling love Twelfth Night, for many reasons. They never really leave the greenworld, just step off even further into Illyria. Olivia is a unique character in the corpus - she's not the soubrette or the Best Friend or any of the other usual second fiddle parts. She's a sorrowful, loving, determined, sexual woman. I caught this cap by chance, and in looking through my set later I found that it somehow seemed to encapsulate all of those things. The text is Anne Carson, who is dreamy and literary and harsh and weird, and somehow fits up nicely against Shakespeare's girls. I read her for class this past fall, and jotted down lines in my notebook.



River is the best textual/deconstructionist toy that could ever be dropped into a show. She's a walking, dancing knot of literary theory. I wanted a River icon, and also something that I could use for theory posts or school-related stuff. Text from Anne Carson again. This was such an easy icon to make - it all just fell into place. Didn't take me more than ten minutes. I love it when that happens.
lotesse: (erised)
Ok, I take it all back. Hopkins is utterly utterly brilliant. It took his nature poetry to really let me in--all the God/Hell stuff is a pretty effective barrier to my understand. Just way not the way my brain works.

Also? The Boy is sitting on our bed reading Soviet propaganda lit for class. Propaganda lit which has apparently just taken a turn for the pornographic. Oh my god that's really bad (he feels the need to share these things, and I don't understand why). and now, I guess, there are mountains that are like firey pancakes. I think he's on drugs.

Re-reading Italo Calvino's collection of Italian folktales. I'm trying to step around my complete critical blockage with regar to the Canterbury Tales by writing papers on the Loathly Lady motif. I'll talk about the Wife of Bath...with others...

"Renegade" has been stuck in my head all week, thanks to Supernatural.

[livejournal.com profile] fictualities has some scans up of a gorgeous set of Little Mermaid illustrations. Oh, Hans Andersen. You are so morbid. And I love you in such passionately distrubing ways.

I really, really want icon-making software on my computer. Because yeah, I totally want to work on icons right now, but doing that means getting all my image and text files on my flash drive and walking through the freezing cold t the omputer lab, and using one of the school computers which does not have all my other stuff on it and also is not in my bedroom. And that's just way too much bother right now.
lotesse: (untold)
So there’s this DVD in the school library of an old tv show called “Jim Henson’s The Storyteller.” They ordered it for the fairy tale class I took last year, some of you might have heard of it. For those who haven’t, it’s a set of nine half-hour fairy tales, produced, designed, and in a few cases directed by Jim Henson. Labyrinth? Dark Crystal? That Jim Henson.

cut for rambling and images )</lj-cut
lotesse: (Desire)
Once upon a time... )
lotesse: (Miranda)
I'm having massive feminist anxiety again.

Actually, it's all sort of dogpiling me at the moment. I'm digging through writing a paper on "Cinderella," trying to do what Gilbert and Gubar did for "Snow White" in "the Madwoman in the Attic," trying to find some way of justifying my feeling that the story is not nearly as sexist as we think it is. This is turning up some really weird stuff about feet and girly bits, esp. with Bettelheim, who somehow comes up with the sister's mutilation of their feet as a symbolic castration, but moving on...

Twisty, who blogs at <http://twistyfaster.typepad.com>, has been talking about women's clothing and fashion. To her, all fashion is misogynistic. And I've felt really uncomfortable with my heels and lipstick.

Part of this is the uneasiness that I feel over the paper--am I excusing a reprehensible story? is it really a story of subjugation to the patriarchy? am I a bad feminist for writing this?--and part is just the old insecurity about "bad feminists."

I'm clinging to my "fashion as theater" concept, and it's sort of saving me. The idea is that clothing is costume, and you pick your part. Some mornings it's one thing, sometimes another. High feminine drag can be used ironically. Right? but is that really why I love it so much? The trouble is that, yes, I agree with the rhetoric that points out that no choice is made in a vacuum. I can't reconcile breast implants with feminism or feminist choice for that reason. But yet I'm saving up for a corset. How the hell does this work?

Awareness has to be the key. The corset attracts my inner antiquarian, my inner submissive. But when I wear it, I am no less than any other person. If men think that it's for them, I'll do my best to disabuse them of that notion. Female desire is a valid motive, and female sexual expression is necessary to the feminist cause.

And Cinderella is a self-motivated agent of femal sexual awakening, damn it!

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin

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