Colloques & Conferences de l'Universite Lyon 2, "Rewriting / Reprising" - La reprise en litterature

"They lived happily ever after, or did they? The Rewriting of Grimms' The Twelve Dancing Princesses in Jeanette Winterson's Sexing the Cherry."

Walezak Emilie

Dernière modification: 2007-07-02


Jeanette Winterson in her novel Sexing the Cherry presents the reader with two forms of rewriting Grimms' fairy tale. One consists in rewriting the tale itself with slight but significant modifications. The other is to continue the story where the brothers Grimm stopped it and provide each of the twelve princesses with a story of her own. In both instances recurring patterns will help design the stakes of the rewriting of a fairy tale. This paper will focus in particular on how the characters of the tale are extracted from their original text to be reintroduced in Sexing the Cherry as characters of a novel. Such an extraction allows many possible transgressions of the codes usually presiding over the tale. The operation has far-reaching consequences enlightening the reasons why one would rewrite a fairy tale. Among them, the questioning of the ideological presuppositions induced by the form of the tale matches Jeanette Winterson's political involvement as a feminist. In this dismantling of the patriarchal heirloom transmitted by the tales, humour and irony serve to bridge the gap between ancient and modern times. Not only are the princesses integrated to the novel as characters but they also become a poetic metaphor central to the construction of the text. From something passed on and integrated they eventually become something transformed and appropriated, which may be proposed as the proper distinction of contemporary rewriting.

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