Discussion: Troubles-era Irish Prose: Kissing the Witch


Location: 339 O'Shaughnessy Hall

Myths and Fairy Tales: Defining the Nation

An Interdisciplinary Graduate/Faculty Workshop

What happens when Cinderella decides that Prince Charming is a jerk and runs off with the fairy godmother? Please join us for a discussion of one of the more controversial Irish fairy tale collections.

Free copies of Kissing the Witch available in advance. Contact Jacqui Weeks at jweeks@nd.edu to reserve your copy.

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Donoghue’s collection is a series of nested stories; each chapter is narrated by a familiar fairy-tale heroine—Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty, and the rest. Each character plays a role in at least two stories, and all the tales are linked together. In every re-telling, a heroine defines her own “happily ever after,” most often in a homosexual relationship with another powerful fairy-tale woman.
Although the text is more famous for its sexual politics, we will also be interrogating its nationalist political implications. In fairy tales, characters always represent a clear role in the social hierarchy: the king, the fool, the princess…consequently, in reorganizing the romantic relationships, Donoghue also challenges social hierarchies and the definitions of centric and eccentric (ex-centric) social behavior. What can these tales of individual desire tell us about national identity?