Project Proposal: Nature, Curses, and Women

Part I: Research and Analysis

In stories with shapeshifting brides and cursed husbands, human and animal identities are intertwined. In these stories, what are the original forms of these supernatural brides and grooms and what does this say about how their culture views them? In order to answer these questions, I will be creating a Data Visualizations project focusing on the Animal Brides and Bridegrooms and their relationships with their spouses.

So far, I have gathered a few translated fairytales and folktales that contain the Animal Bride/Bridegroom archetype. The sources that will make up my corpus data are here:

  • The Brown Fairy Book
  • Korean Folk Tales: Imps, Ghosts, and Fairies
  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales
  • Animal Brides and Folktales of Type
  • East of the Sun, West of the Moon
  • Prince Lindworm
  • The Grateful Crane Wife

I will most likely use the tools, Voyant, Antconc, and StoryMaps to create visualizations of the data that I collect.

Part II: Argument and Context of the Project

Fairytales and folktales are not only reflections of the values of their culture, but also the representation of their fears. More often than not, the true forms of the Animal Brides are wild animals instead of the beautiful women they transform into. In contrast to this, Animal Bridegrooms are usually cursed men forced to take on a beastly form. This project aims to prove the argument that the wives in the stories, both the shapeshifters and the brides of beasts, are more closely tied to nature than society. The fairytales and folktales that I will include in my corpus all come from different time periods and different parts of the world, which is important to note because it shows that the pattern of Animal Bride and Bridegroom tales are alike in different times and places.

I will be using Antconc’s Concordance and Collocates tools in order to help me gather data that will support my argument and find the words that will help in visualization. As for Voyant, I plan to use Bubbleline, Reader, Trends, and Correlations to create my data visualizations. Since the imagery of the locations of the stories are important to my project, I will also be using StoryMaps.

Since my argument can only be enhanced by the voices and views of others interested in the same subject, I have gathered secondary sources that also analyze the Animal Bride and Bridegroom archetype such as:

  1. Edmunds, Lowell. “‘The Abduction of the Beautiful Wife’ as International Tale.” In Stealing Helen, 20–65. The Myth of the Abducted Wife in Comparative Perspective. Princeton University Press, 2016.
  2. 2.     Kobayashi, Fumihiko. “Is the Animal Woman a Meek or an Ambitious Figure in Japanese Folktales?” Fabula 51, no. 3/4 (2010): 235–50.
  3. 3.     Webb, Caroline, and Helen Hopcroft. “‘A Different Logic’: Animals, Transformation, and Rationality in Angela Carter’s ‘The Tiger’s Bride.’” Marvels & Tales 31, no. 2 (2017): 313-337, 443.

Part III: Who’s This For?

My project is aimed towards readers interested in folklore and fairytales. While I would invite any readers who are professionals in the field to engage with my content, my project will be open to anyone who is interested in folklore and fairytales. I hope that, through my project, I can contribute a new angle to a well-known archetype within folklore.

Part IV: Setting Things Up and Making It Pretty

I will be building a website on WordPress for my project. I will either incorporate it into the website I use for this course, or I will build a completely new website for this project. I have considered the copyright status and licensing permissions for the possible images that I may use to support my Data Visualizations project. Most of my images, I suspect, will be available for public use. But if they do, I will either link them back to their original source. As for how my website will host the data visualizations, I believe that I will be connecting them to WordPress itself since I have confirmed that most of the tools I plan to use are supported by the site. If it does not work, my fallback option is to replace the data visualization with an image and accompany it with a link.

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