Now, you may think that these questions are more to do with being a reader than a writer. But, if there’s one thing my Transformative Writing module has taught me, it’s that everybody draws off everyone else, and being a reader is just as important as being a writer. Here, I’m looking at classic myth, literature and fairy tales. So, what do you think?
1. Read various versions of Cinderella; Anne Sexton’s poem, Charles Perrault’s ‘The Little Glass Slipper’ and Rhodopis. In what ways is each version similar and different?
Fairy tales are constantly evolving, and here are just three examples.
2. Read the Faust myths, Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus and Goethe’s Faust
How is the Faust myth retold in different eras? Why does Goethe add God, whereas Marlowe focuses on Faustus? How are Faustus and Mephistopheles/Mephistophilis/Mephastophulis represented? Perhaps Marlowe chose this myth because he was a possible atheist. And was Goethe playing up Romantic trends?
3. Ovid’s Pyramus and Thisbe and Romeo and Juliet
Is Shakespeare just playing up to a Renaissance tradition of re-hashing classical mythology? Or is it just Shakespeare’s thing to retell other stories (Hamlet is based on Thomas Kyd’s The Spanish Tragedy, for instance.
4. Wide Sargasso Sea and Jane Eyre
This novel is considered to be the birth of fan fiction, as it rewrites Charlotte Bronte’s classic. Why does Rhys focus so much on Bertha/Antoinette? Is she successful? Is this just fan fiction, or a start of a new tradition? Is she doing anything new at all (James Joyce with Ulysses for instance)