Seminar paper from the year 2007 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1, University of Göttingen (Englisches Seminar), course: Gender and Intertextuality in Contemporary Retellings of Fairy Tales, 12 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: The British female author A.S Byatt has always been fascinated by fairy stories, "from years of reading myths and fairytales under the bedclothes, from the delights and freedoms and terrors of worlds and creatures that never existed." In 1994, she published her own collection of fairy tales, titled "The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye". Four of the five tales are quite short and told in a narrative style typical for the genre, whereas the title story, which merges realism and fantasy, is of the length of a novella. The first two stories of the collection, "The Glass Coffin" and "Gode's Story", were originally published in Byatt's successful novel "Possession" and are reprinted verbatim in combination with three new stories in "The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye". Byatt's work is remarkably intertextual, "The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eye" seems virtually to be a rich collage of fairy tale motifs. While the title story brims over with references to narratives of Oriental origin, as the Tales from Arabian Nights, the epics of Gilgamesh or the ancient myth of Cybele, and the works of Shakespeare and Chaucer, "The Glass Coffin" and "The Story of the Eldest Princess" are based on many themes and elements alluding to the traditional European fairy tales collected by Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm. Byatt herself mentions that "I read through the whole collection (in German) and made a kind of patchwork or jigsaw Tale out of all the motifs that most moved and excited me [...]." This essay wants to examine how Byatt uses and transforms these familiar motifs, plots and characters from the "old stories" in order to give her heroines more power over her own life in her new stories. [...]
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