Folklore, Fantasy and Film
Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.
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Fantasy has become a dynamic and popular genre in literature, art, Internet games, TV and film. This course examines the reasons for its popularity in modern culture. Many motifs and themes in modern fantasy are linked to folklore beliefs and legends, and we will consider how these traditional sources were transmitted and adapted as fantasy themes.
The course will examine a wide range of subject matter including well-known texts such as Alice in Wonderland and the Narnia chronicles, modern international fantasy films such as Howl’s Moving Castle and Spritied Away and a few unusual fantasies from James Branch Cabell, Oscar Wilde and others.
- Fantasy What is It? This session will introduce some of the major themes of the course and discuss basic concepts such as fantasy and folklore
- Down the Rabbit Hole: This session will examine Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll’s fantastic world and will consider how the fantasy has been adapted in by Walt Disney, Tim Burton and in modern The Matrix films
- Before Middle Earth – Older fantasies: This session will look at some of the historical sources of fantasy writing for example Ovid’s Metamorphoses and at the work of early fantasy writers such as George Macdonald who influenced Lewis and Tolkien among others
- Through the labyrinth will consider this important and dynamic theme from its classical appearance and later through the work of Borges, and well-known films like Labyrinth and Pan’s Labyrinth
- Filming Fairies will examine the folklore origins of a pervasive element of modern fantasy and will how fairies were made ‘real’ by spiritualism and the occult
- Pegasus and the Hippogriff, from myth to mechanical beast will examine the classical sources of Pegasus, his evolution into the Hippogriff in early modern legend and the mechanical horses of stories from the Arabian Nights
- Ghostly voices traces the supernatural visitations from traditional legends to modern paranormal science looking at literary works like ‘The Canterville Ghost’ and modern film and TV such as Ghost and being human
- Library Visit – This session will take give students the opportunity to examine some of Cardiff University’s rare books in Scolar
- The Wolf Fantastic Friend or Fearsome Foe will look at the wolf motif both as a ‘real’ threat from a predatory animal and as a supernatural creature. We will consider changing attitudes to the animal world and the popularity of Werewolf films
- Metamorphosis; Transformation and Punishment – This session will look at the idea of change in relation to folklore and fantasy from shape shifting to enchantment in tales from Ovid and in modern films like Spirited Away
Who is this course for?
Anyone with an interest in the topic. No previous knowledge of the subject is assumed.
Learning and Teaching
Learning and teaching are undertaken by means of small group work. This is a 10-credit course, so there will be two-hour meetings once a week (20 contact hours in all) which will include group discussion, exercises, source analysis and presentation of material on PowerPoint and DVD. The aim is ensure that the classes are enjoyable and stimulating for all. This will encourage the development of knowledge and understanding of the topics and ideas discussed in the course.
Coursework and Assessment
To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.
The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.
You will not have a formal examination but you will be asked to produce some written work (1500 words). This may include a set of short responses to questions (such as a questionnaire or quiz), a course journal, an oral presentation, or a more extended essay.
Selections from literary works, TV and film will be provided during the course on Learning Central and in the Senghennydd Library.
The resources listed below provide background and context for the topics that will be considered in the course.
- Joshua David Bellin, Framing Monsters: fantasy film and social alienation (Illinois University Press, 2005)
- Marina Warner, Phantasmagoria; spirit visions, metaphors and media into the 21st century (Oxford, 2006)
- James Donald Londe Fantasy and the Cinema (BFI Publications)
- Janet Wasgo Understanding Disney: The manufacture of fantasy (Cambridge Polity, 2001)
- Lewis Carroll, The Annotated Alice Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass (London Penguin, 2001)
- Douglas A. Anderson, Tales Before Narnia: the roots of modern fantasy and science fiction (New York Ballentine Books, 2008)
- Penelope Reed Doob, The Idea of the labyrinth: from classical antiquity through the middle ages Ithaca (Cornell University Press, 1992)
Library and Computing Facilities
As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on
(029) 2087 0000.
Accessibility of Courses
Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.
A range of further information can be found on our web site www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn or in Choices. This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.