ENGL 1310 The Modern Fairy Tale

Instructor Contact:

Stephanie Couey, Instructor

Email: stephanie.couey@colorado.edu

About the Course:

We will begin with an overview of “classic” literary fairy tales, folk tales, parables, and legends, and will then spend the majority of the semester immersed in modern fairy tales and fairy tales that have been told and retold (sometimes many times) within the last one hundred years. To assist in our inquires and to learn to critically read fairy tales, we will engage with scholarly texts across fields of gender and sexuality studies, critical race theory, ethnic studies, disability studies, and media studies that consider how “classic” fairy tales and their modern renderings can uphold and/or resist oppressive representations and belief systems.

As a class, we will continuously ask: What do the tales that pervade contemporary fiction and poetry – as well as movies, pop songs, music videos, theme parks, and so on – reveal about significant moments in history? About our own historical and cultural moments? How might they influence how we see and interact with our surroundings? How do they shape our principles, desires, fears, and beliefs? Fairy tales are (arguably) always with us, but what are the costs and benefits of their magic on the “real” world, and on ourselves?

Students can expect to:

– Regularly engage in discussions and collaboratively annotate texts on Canvas

– Compose short pieces of critical and reflective writing throughout the semester

– Complete a creative final project of their choosing (a paper is also an option)

Course Prerequisites: none


By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Identify the forms, devices, themes, and archetypes that characterize fairy tales across space and time
  • Skillfully close read and annotate texts
  • Analyze and critique the ways fairy tales portray people, non-human life, and the world
  • Develop original interpretations of classic and modern fairy tales

Required Texts:

Required Texts may include:

–       Norton Second Critical Edition of The Classic Fairy Tales, edited by Maria Tatar, 2017.

–       My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me: Forty New Fairy Tales, edited by Kate Bernheimer with Carmen Giménez Smith, 2010.

–       Selected PDFs provided on Canvas.

Grading (out of 100 percentage points):

Coursework and Grading:

Assignment Grade Percentages
Syllabus Quiz & Self-Introduction   3%
Zoom Conference with instructor  5%
Discussion Posts (5 sets) 25%
Reading Quizzes (5 quizzes) 25%
Reflection Journal (5 entries) 25%
Creative Project, Proposal & Reflection Paper 17%

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado