Friday, May 4, 2012

SRPS - Blog Around

King Golden Hair by Barbara Stefan
In my most favorite class this semester, we spent a lot of time discussing stories communities tell about themselves and how that can be directly tied to their beliefs. We read several texts, and we were asked each time to not only talk about the story itself, but the reason the author chose that particular story, how it reflects his/her own purposes, and what was left out, and how that also reveals his/her purposes.

I was reminded of this lesson in media literacy when I saw this blog post by Maria Tatar in The New Yorker, about other articles celebrating newly discovered, unpublished folk stories curated by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth, and seemingly left out of the infamous Grimm Fairytale collection. As it turns out, these stories have been recorded, and exist in libraries today. But I'm curious to know why these stories were not included the Brothers Grimm collection, and why they fell out of common usage? And what does that say about them and their beliefs?
Even more importantly, the Brothers Grimm, who were responsible for establishing the folklore canon we have today in Anglo-American cultures, may have been wary of telling stories of persecuted boys, having suffered much in their own early lives. It is no accident that we refer these days to Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm almost as if they were a couple. The brothers lost their father at a young age and worked hard to educate themselves and to keep their fragile family intact. They studied law together and worked side by side for decades, taking notes, copying manuscripts, editing texts, and famously creating index card entries for their monumental dictionary of the German language. Is it any surprise that they might have found tales about quarreling brothers or male-sibling rivals less than congenial?

While they may not be ancient folktales passed down over generations, these drawings by koralie have a magical fairytale aspect

I am terribly sorry that I neglected to blog about Wollstonecraft, the fantastic kickstarter project for a series of pro-girl, pro-math, pro-science, pro-awesomeness novels for young women. But, it looks like enough of you saw it anyway, since they more than met their goal!

For Women's History Month, I wrote a three part series about Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States. Recently, the Georgian Gentleman wrote about Dr. James Barry, who rose to the rank of Inspector General of Hospitals in Great Britain, after serving in the British Army medical corps. Only he was a she. And her secret went with her to her grave.
Dr Barry was a fiery and bombastic red-head who had a reputation for being prickly: frequently taunted for being effeminate and for having a high pitched voice Barry responded with angry outbursts. She compensated for her lack of stature (she was five foot tall in her stocking-ed feet) by wearing three inch risers in her shoes, and wore over-sized clothing. Anyone getting too personal in their remarks was likely to be challenged to a duel – reportedly she fought on several occasions and is believed to have been injured in one and reportedly shot an opponent in another. Unbelievably, the dashing young doctor even nurtured a reputation as a ladies’ man – perhaps to deflect attention.

It's a couple of years old, but this clip of Snow White offering advice to young girls tickled my humor bone after my recent review of Mirror Mirror.


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