The rebirth of Rapunzel : a mythic biography of the maiden in the tower

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‘The Rebirth of Rapunzel: A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower’ is a creative and theoretical work that investigates and reimagines the fairy tale of ‘Rapunzel’. The thesis contains two sections. The first is a novel entitled Bitter Greens, an imaginative retelling of ‘Rapunzel’ that draws on elements of various historical versions of the tale, interwoven with a fictional memoir of the French author Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force (1650-1724). Her 1697 tale ‘Persinette’ was the first to contain the complete memeplex that is today widely recognised as ‘Rapunzel’. The second section is inspired by Stephen Knight’s notion of ‘mythic biography’ and traces the story’s genealogy from its mythological roots to contemporary revisiting. Drawing on scholarly approaches to folk tales, especially the work of Jack Zipes and Alan Dundes, the thesis seeks to explore why this particular fairy tale has endured and continues to remain relevant to a contemporary audience. In doing so, it aims to illuminate my own choices in writing the novel and to achieve a deeper understanding of the centrality of this tale within my own reading and writing life.
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