Sweet Briar College will present “From Hunger Narratives to Hunger Games: Fairy-tale Tricksters,” a talk by renowned fairy tale scholar Maria Tatar, at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 26, in the Boxwood Room at the Elston Inn Conference Center.
The event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by Sweet Briar’s Lectures and Events Committee, the dean and the Honors Program.
Tatar is the John L. Loeb Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures and chair of the folklore and mythology program at Harvard University. She is the author of numerous critical essays and books, including “The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales.” The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies and the National Endowment for the Humanities, Tatar has written for the New York Times, the New Republic and the Harvard Crimson. Her work has been featured on the Today Show and in Harvard Magazine and was reviewed by the New York Times. Tatar has also been interviewed by NPR.
“She is easily one of the world’s foremost authorities on fairy tales, folklore and the sex and violence contained therein,” said Laura Reinert, assistant professor of English at Sweet Briar. Reinert teaches medieval literature and fairy tales and has used one of Tatar’s textbooks in her “Origins of Fairy Tales” class.
Tatar’s talk comes at a time when fairy tales are back in style, with television series like “Once Upon a Time” and “Grimm” drawing large audiences, and two new film adaptations of “Snow White” coming out this year. In the past 15 years, young adult and children’s literature involving fantasy and fairy tale elements, such as “Harry Potter,” “Twilight” and, most recently, “The Hunger Games,” has contributed to this trend.
The lecture came together when one of Reinert’s students, Lauren Babineau, was looking for an outside reader for her senior honors thesis. Babineau will present “Grooming the Bride: Transformations in the ‘Beastly Bridegroom’ Category of Folklore” at 2 p.m. Friday, April 27, in the 1948 Theater.
“I had told Lauren that there was no harm in shooting for the stars and we agreed that Maria Tatar would be our absolute first choice if we could have any scholar in the world,” Reinert said.
She was able to establish contact with Tatar through Sweet Briar’s German professor Ron Horwege, who attended a summer program with Tatar 40 years ago in Berlin.
“We were stunned — and then ecstatic — that she agreed!” Reinert said. “I am thrilled that we have been able to give Lauren this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with the scholar in her field. Words cannot express how pleased and proud I am of Lauren.”
Contact: Janika Carey