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Lewis C. Seifert: Fairy Tale as Error - Tahar Ben Jelloun Rewrites Charles Perrault
Lewis C. Seifert: Fairy Tale as Error - Tahar Ben Jelloun Rewrites Charles Perrault
WhenMonday, Jan. 23, 2017, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Campus locationCommunications Building (CMU)
Campus room226
Event typesAcademics
Description

In his 2014 collection Mes contes de Perrault, acclaimed Franco-Moroccan writer Tahar Ben Jelloun rewrites 10 of Charles Perrault’s 11 fairy tales, setting them in a vaguely Arab and Muslim world. In this talk, I consider what Ben Jelloun’s reworking of the fairy-tale form and his investment in Perrault more generally tell us about the encounter between France and the Maghreb. Framing his rewritings as overtly fictive personal appropriations, Ben Jelloun critiques the underlying logic of Perrault’s stories and, indeed, the canonical European fairy-tale tradition. Foremost in this critique is a rejection of the genre’s utopian impulse, with a propensity for deflating expectations. For Ben Jelloun, the fairy tale, as a genre, is predicated on error to the extent that it holds out the hope that reason and justice can indeed prevail. And yet, that same error draws our attention to the madness and injustice that surround us in the here and now and provides a means of survival. I will argue that Ben Jelloun’s ambivalence toward the fairy-tale form, which parallels Perrault’s own approach, illuminates the complexities facing the postcolonial Francophone Maghrebi writer in our current moment.

Linkfrenchitalian.washington.edu…
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