Author Topic: Literary, cultural, fairytale, feminist ramblings (and other clever stuff too)  (Read 17307 times)

Offline Charlotte Mew

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On origins of fairytales, do people know about the book Clever Maids by Valerie Paradiz?  It is about the fact that it was women that collected the fairy and folk tales and the Grimm Brothers got them from them not from folkloric research with storytellers as they implied (and of course did not acknowledge that).  It is pretty interesting.

Here is my favourite story, a Brazilian Cinderella variant called Labismina complete with a magical snake twin and girl escapes from incestuous father theme.  I have mentioned it before.   It is a bit long to tell, here is a link

In the eighties I and my partner, a photographer/artist, made an installation featuring, in part of it, this story.  I made shadow puppets for it. 


Offline Lust for Life

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I read the Labismina story, wonderful, Charlotte Mew!

And thanks for this thread, it is indeed more fitting than weight loss and weddings, although I value those too in a different way.

Offline Custardy Fututrix

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Oh, I just read the beginning of this thread!  My favourite was the Ice Queen.  I decided that if I ever had a little boy he would be called Kai cos of that story. 

Story Teller has a lot to answer for.
Marching victorious, with your banners of defeat.

Offline Charlotte Mew

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For those who've read Labismina I think the fact Maria does not call her name to disenchant her at the end is highly significant. Not that I don't like her better as a serpent but happy ever after marriage endings leave the serpent self angry and roaring like the sea.

PQ

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I am unilaterally copying interesting stuff from elsewhere on GB in here. Which doesnt mean that nobody else can, of course. In fact, I think we all should.



I don't know who Menelaus left behind, seeing as his wife Helen had been absconded to start the war in the first place. 

  I think she had 'been abducted' or 'had absconded' 

I rather liked "had been absconded" as a turn of phrase, precisely because it could be read as either.


Sheer drunken carelessness.  I started with Been Abducted, then decided she left of her own free will and replaced ut with Absconded.

I'm sure a Menelaus prototype existed, Goldlynx, but he's not a matter of historical record as Lycurgus (the founder of the Spartan state) is.  I would place him as legend rather than outright myth, but he's not historical: his wife was born of a four-yoked swan's egg, after all...

The Trojan War is also interesting as a parallel to the utterly historical Pubic Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage.  In both instances you have an established mercantile power (Troy, Carthage) that holds sway through the female-identified power of trading webs* (note the female identification: Dido of Carthage and Helen of Troy) and of course as part of this the very female seas.  It is challenged and eventually usurped by the invading masculine, militaristic Greece and Rome. 

* webs are female-identified, cf, Arachne


[Have I just redeemed a membersworth of cheap genital jokes & innuendos?]


Could we possibly relocate this discussion to this thread:

http://boards.gingerbeer.co.uk/index.php?topic=97455.0
Cos it's getting really interesting. :D

I kind of like the parallel with Carthage, but I always thought the Iliad had been composed and probably even written down by the time the Punic Wars happened?

And I would take issue with Helen being identified with Troy; she was absconded there, as you so rightly said ( ;)) whereas Dido was the (poss. mythical, leaving aside the mythicality of Paris, Aphrodite, Helen etc. for a moment) founder of Carthage.

Altho I think you do have something there, with both Troy & Carthage being othered by Greece & Rome, and thus feminised... I like this, the more I think about it. Dammit, I wish we knew more about Trojan & Carthegian Carthiginian Punic cultures.


Bizoute

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has anyone seen/read 'women of troy?' i loved that that play focused on the women.

also, i just really like cassandra.

wolfgang

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I have a cousin called Kassandra. 

Bizoute

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i just really like her.

*tosses you a catnip-filled toy mouse*

PQ

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^ I havent, but I like the sound of it, who is it by?

I really really wish there was a good translation of Christa Wolf's Kassandra. The existing one is crap IMO. It's such a fantastic book, and she writes such deceptively (operative word) simple, often quite deliberately archaeic (sp?) German, which has been rendered into simplistic English, which is all wrong. It's wiped out all the layers, all the depth.

BTW she's also written one about Medea, whcih I didnt on first reading find as stunning as Kassandra, but I htink I should re-read. I dont even know if that has been translated; I fear not.


wolfgang

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I am unilaterally copying interesting stuff from elsewhere on GB in here. Which doesnt mean that nobody else can, of course. In fact, I think we all should.



I don't know who Menelaus left behind, seeing as his wife Helen had been absconded to start the war in the first place. 

  I think she had 'been abducted' or 'had absconded' 

I rather liked "had been absconded" as a turn of phrase, precisely because it could be read as either.


Sheer drunken carelessness.  I started with Been Abducted, then decided she left of her own free will and replaced ut with Absconded.

I'm sure a Menelaus prototype existed, Goldlynx, but he's not a matter of historical record as Lycurgus (the founder of the Spartan state) is.  I would place him as legend rather than outright myth, but he's not historical: his wife was born of a four-yoked swan's egg, after all...

The Trojan War is also interesting as a parallel to the utterly historical Pubic Punic Wars between Rome and Carthage.  In both instances you have an established mercantile power (Troy, Carthage) that holds sway through the female-identified power of trading webs* (note the female identification: Dido of Carthage and Helen of Troy) and of course as part of this the very female seas.  It is challenged and eventually usurped by the invading masculine, militaristic Greece and Rome. 

* webs are female-identified, cf, Arachne


[Have I just redeemed a membersworth of cheap genital jokes & innuendos?]


Could we possibly relocate this discussion to this thread:

http://boards.gingerbeer.co.uk/index.php?topic=97455.0
Cos it's getting really interesting. :D

I kind of like the parallel with Carthage, but I always thought the Iliad had been composed and probably even written down by the time the Punic Wars happened?

And I would take issue with Helen being identified with Troy; she was absconded there, as you so rightly said ( ;)) whereas Dido was the (poss. mythical, leaving aside the mythicality of Paris, Aphrodite, Helen etc. for a moment) founder of Carthage.

Altho I think you do have something there, with both Troy & Carthage being othered by Greece & Rome, and thus feminised... I like this, the more I think about it. Dammit, I wish we knew more about Trojan & Carthegian Carthiginian Punic cultures.


I would say that Troy and Carthage were masculinised by Greece and Rome, no?

Re: Helen - my mum said the same, but this is the thing, Helen *was* Peloponnesian, & was originally Helen of Sparta, but myth has identified her with Troy: I'm sure this is, semantically speaking, no accident.

Similarly yes, this was my point: Homer was written down around 800 BCE, I think - centuries before the Punic Wars.  It is apn archetype repeated throughout history, I'm sure.  Though too ignorant to confirm.  Phoenicia?  Tyre?  Venice?  Hic?

Bizoute

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^ oh interesting re: the kassandra.

trojan women is euripides. it is really interesting. the trojan women learning their fate after the men have died in war. so...grim. but so many strong female characters. cassandra appears but isn't a main character.

this may be an unfair statement but superficially: horrible things regularly happen to women in greek myth. however it also seems capable of celebrating strong women. whereas western fairytale rarely seems to celebrate the strong women.

wolfgang

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To be fair, horrible things happen to *everyone* in Greek myth, but yes, the Trojan women have a particularly miserable time of it, esp. Cassandra.  And Andromache.  OTOH, there are many strong women, e.g. Medea, Antigone.  However, I can't think of any in history, & suspect that the very prominence of the Tragedic women may be considered part of their tregedic flaw, if I could be arsed to go into the text, which I can in return for chocolate.

AnotherVita

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Quote
I really really wish there was a good translation of Christa Wolf's Kassandra. The existing one is crap IMO. It's such a fantastic book, and she writes such deceptively (operative word) simple, often quite deliberately archaeic (sp?) German, which has been rendered into simplistic English, which is all wrong. It's wiped out all the layers, all the depth.


Perhaps you should try doing a translation PQ. I have only read the Quest for Christa T by her.

Offline Charlotte Mew

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I have just found out one view of how Helen of Sparta looked at a young woman, I thought some might like it. (from Wikipedia)

Ovid's Heroides give us an idea of how ancient and, in particular, Roman authors imagined Helen in her youth: she is presented as a young princess wrestling naked in the palaestra; an image alluding to a part of girls' physical education in classical (and not in Mycenaean) Sparta. Sextus Propertius imagines Helen as a girl who practices arms and hunts with her brothers:[25]

    [...] or like Helen, on the sands of Eurotas, between Castor and Pollux, one to be victor in boxing, the other with horses: with naked breasts she carried weapons, they say, and did not blush with her divine brothers there.

I also found out that Helen might not be the daughter of Leda and Zeus in the form of a swan (though I may have to post Yeats' poem in a bit... :D)  but in a variant myth was the daughter of Nemesis

I've also found out a whole lot more about Clytemnestra who I have long admired.  It seems that Agamemnon not only sacrificed their daughter Iphigenia to get the right winds to blow, but also murdered her baby son. In one version she was married to another King who Agememnon killed.  He also killed her young son by this king (just like a drake or a lion killing the offspring of the other male...) and forced Clytemnestra to marry him.

All a very sorry bunch of patriarchal nasties, jolly good thing there were all these strong Greek tragic heroines even though they all come to a bad end.  I am now going downstairs to see if i have The Trojan Women in an early twentieth century gold embossed cloth bound edition. I think I have.   I will read it in the next days if so.   Now I will go to sleep.   

PQ

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    [...] or like Helen, on the sands of Eurotas, between Castor and Pollux, one to be victor in boxing, the other with horses: with naked breasts she carried weapons, they say, and did not blush with her divine brothers there.

Ohhhh.

I feel I have neglected the classics. Esp. if theres more stuff like this in there.

And Wolfie (if I may), I am meaning to get back to you re Carthage & Troy & othering and masc/feminising, but I have to write anther 1500 words on Northumbria (and Cumbria) by tomorrow morning, and Ive only just started on Wordsworth (Wm. & Dorothy) & still have Sellafield and Holy Island to shoehorn into it somehow, and should not be here reading racy stuff about Helen's breasts at all.
So I'll depart for now, but, like the Terminator, I will be back.