Over the course of the spring semester, the students in “Cinderella” read nearly fifty tellings of the Cinderella story from around the world, starting from the earliest recorded version, written in Chinese in the ninth century. We read folktellings from Vietnam, Tibet, China, Iraq, Brazil, Norway, Ireland, and elsewhere, fairy tales penned by Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, Madame d’Aulnoy, and Giambattista Basile, and contemporary adaptations by Angela Carter, Aimee Bender, Tanith Lee, Susan Palwick, Peter Straub, and others. We read children’s picture books and visited Special Collections; we read poems by Anne Sexton and Roald Dahl. Some of the stories we read were familiar, but others were not, for example the Brazilian story in which the magical helper was the heroine’s sister, born as a snake wrapped around her neck, or the many stories in which magical helper was a cow, often a reincarnation of the heroine’s mother. The heroine in these stories isn’t always nice, and many stories are violent and surprisingly gruesome. In some tellings, the heroine forgives her abusers and all live happily ever after; in others, she takes revenge. As part of their final project, class members wrote stories inspired by our readings. We now invite you to enjoy these stories. See their project here (click on image below).

black smoky image with title Cinderella Tellings on top