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Anne Dalke's picture

Week 3 - Explaining Fairy Tales


Last night, I participated in a really soulful performance with the Headlong Theater, in an astonishing space--an abandoned church in West Philadelphia. We were asked to wear blue. To go deeper into the denseness of the sensual world, into an analogue reality, to live in the lapse, the absence of explication, the gap between experience and explanation. Last night was the last performance of the "Explanatorium," so I can't recommend your going to this particular show (though the company offers both free First Friday performances in old city and a semester away program co-sponsored by Bryn Mawr).  It occurs to me, however, that much of what they are doing--preparing their private expressions to meet the public, letting their innerworld find its way to the outerworld, exploring our fascination with the inexplicable, reveling in our awareness of not being sure, taking the risk of making pieces by indirection, by experiment, and by conversation--are deeply resonant with our own explorations of fairy tales  in this course.

Long preface (and promotion!) to say: this week we are reading Bettleheim's "The Uses of Enchantment." What are your responses? What do you think (for instance) of the passage Bettelheim quotes from the German poet Friedrich Schiller, "Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life...?"


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