The Lais Of Marie De France

865 Words Nov 11th, 2015 4 Pages
The extent to which the Lais of Marie de France can be categorized as fairy tales is dependent on the definition of “fairy tale.” Using various scholars’ definitions of “fairy tale” and conceptions of the fairy tale genre, criteria for “fairy tales” arises. Then, close-readings of three lais, “Guigemar”, “Lanval” and “Yonec”, are used as a mechanism for meeting or failing the criteria. This methodology is then evaluated and problematized. The criterion for fairy tales includes origin, form, content, style, and meaning. Etymologically, the word ‘fairy tale’ has disputed origins. Supposedly, it comes from the French “contes des fees” or “tales about fairies”, popular in French courts and salons in the seventeenth century. However, Jack Zipes argues that “conte féerique” actually translates to “fairy tales” and refers to narrative form, rather than content.
If defined from “conte féerique”, a work is a fairy tale due to its narrative form. Narrative form is in turn defined in two ways, as the process of narration or as the narrative account itself, known as the story. Firstly, the fairy tale process of narration has a consensus definition, determined by its origin and function. Secondly, the narrative account of a fairy tale encompasses several sub-sections including setting, characters, and style. Fairy tales originate in the oral tradition of folk tales. Both Vladimir Propp and Karel Čapek argue that key to this tradition is the repeated interaction between performer and…
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