Sunday, November 15, 2020

TODAY at 7pm EST and 4pm PST: Profs And Pints Online Presents: "Fairy Tales of French Salons" (& A Note on the 2020 Revival of the Literary and Fairy Tale Salon)

Our apologies for not posting this well ahead of time!

But... I Will Miss/Have Missed the Live Lecture!

Don't fret! We know a lot of our readers won't see it until tomorrow morning after the live lecture has happened BUT, like all Profs and Pints lectures, this one will be recorded and available to view afterward for all current ticket holders, as well as for those who purchase access after the event (only $12). The Profs and Pints events are aimed at adults and college-level learning, so these lectures are one of the most affordable, yet high-quality self-education tools online today. While viewing the recording after the event means you won't be able to live chat with the other attendees or the lecturer and can't propose questions for the Q&A at the end, the entire chat and Q&A portion remain part of the recording so you can see the community involvement and responses as it was happening. Once you have purchased a ticket, the event is available to view at any time after the lecture, and as many times as you wish! 

Fairy's Banquet - John Anster Fitzgerald

The Rise of the Fairy Tale Salon, 2020 Style

Today's lecture is exceptionally timely. With the pandemic showing no signs of ending soon, people are starting to figure out ways to connect digitally and literary salons are once again on the rise. Though they can never be the same as the intimate gatherings fueling conversations, encouraging ideas, and getting feedback on everything from writing to art, it does make the events more accessible to people from different locations across countries and around the world, and is proving to be a new way to build communities of like-minded people and providing support during an isolating time. Fairy tale salons, especially, are beginning to pop up here and there around the world, all-digital, all experimental, and all eager to connect folks who love to study tales and reference them in their own writing and other works. 

It's a brave new world and, as will be discussed today, reflects the desire people had, and still have, to push against established ideas and systems and find new ways to move forward both in thinking and expression - something especially prevalent in 2020. Salons are primarily fun, of course, but at the heart of the movement is a desire to make the world a better place, and to do that with other like-minded people. The Fairy Tale Salons of France in the late C17th (and the lesser-known German Fairy Tale Salons during the Romantic movement in the C19th) were revolutionary in form and function and, in true subversive style, enabled conversations of resistance and the exploration of revolutionary ideas, all coded within the deceptively simple form of the fairy tale. These people, mainly women, are considered the Fairy Godmothers, or Fairy Godparents, of the Fairy Tale (the literary form of the oral folktale and wonder tale), and their stories have survived and remained popular to this day. 

Fairy Banquet - Arthur Rackham

Seeing Beyond the Magic While Still Reveling In The Wonder

What's lesser-known is that we can still see and access the rest of the work done in Salons, via the vehicle of those surviving stories, despite that it's usually hidden under the magical clothing of the contes des fées - a term coined by the French Salon, which is where we get the term "fairy tale". 

It's high time we saw beyond the sparkly exterior of these fanciful stories and take a look at the serious - and invigorating - work of the literary fairy tale. The revival of the fairy tale salon in 2020, albeit digital and online, is no coincidence!

That doesn't mean we can't continue to enjoy fairy tales or revel in (or escape into) their magical possibilities. If anything, this gives more reasons to embrace them in all their Once Upon A Times. Fairy tales aren't just for children; they are for everyone and understanding how literary versions of fairy tales came to be, helps explain why. It also gives us every reason to celebrate their wonder and to enjoy them. 

So come along with your notebook and extra glitter on your hands or just sneak in the back to listen - there's room for all here to play and to connect as we make the world a better, more wonder-full place.

The Fairy Girls Make the Carpet (Polish Fairy Tales)
by Cecile Walton

What's Being Talked About Today? (summary info from Profs and Pints Online below):

Profs and Pints Online presents: “Fairy Tales of French Salons,” with Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, former instructors at Ohio State University and co-founders of the Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic.

[This talk will remain available in recorded form at the link used for tickets and access.]

It’s easy to think of fairy tales as light-hearted, simple, even frivolous tales for children. But that’s only a small part of the story.  Fairy tales can be serious business. They can be subtle messages that convey warnings under the noses of the powerful—or even poke fun at them--especially if written by women.

Modern Fairy Godmother Styling
by Camilla (Very pricey, as would have suited
the social station of the original Salonnieres!
Thankfully, the Salon revival isn't as dependent
on privilege; in fact, that's one of the
institutions it rebels against.
Vive la 2020 Revolution!)

Such was the case in the fairy-tale salons of seventeenth-century Paris, where ladies (and some men) gathered to tell each other stories that definitely were not for children. 

Designed to be a space where people could break free of strict aristocratic confines in the service of art, the salons let creators discuss anything so long as it was couched in the form of a fairy tale. The stories that resulted tackled everything from actual love in a marriage, to the importance of education, to the enormous social inequalities faced by the women of the age.

As the air gets crisp, fix yourself a warm drink and join Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman, two favorites of Profs and Pints audiences, for a look at the beautiful and bizarre fairy tales that emerged from the literary salons of France during his period.

We’ll swim with a great green wyrm, a terrifying sea serpent. You’ll travel with a woman who dresses as a man in order to save her family, and converse with a witty princess forced to wear the skin of a bear.

These fairy-tale salons were the first of many great literary groups, from the Bloomsbury circle in London to the meetings of the Beat writers of San Francisco.

This online discussion of them might end up feeling like a similar gathering of the curious and subversive. 

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