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Fairy tale interrupted

Feminism, Masculinity, Wonder Cinema

Allison Craven

Feminism, masculinity and fairy tale figure within an extended analysis of Disney's Beauty and the Beast (1991), in light of the live-action remake, Beauty and the Beast (2017). The history of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast is compared with Disney's adaptation which centralises the figure of the Beast rather than the heroine, Belle. A flagship during a key period of Disney’s corporate expansion in the early 1990s, in the first section of the book, the production is situated with respect to gender histories in the corresponding period: the rise of post-feminism, and its implicit disavowal of feminism, the mythopoetic men’s movement and the crisis of masculinity. The following section canvasses views of masculinity in second wave feminism and the role of myth and fairy in key works of feminism. A critical discussion ensues of twenty-first century wonder cinema in which the influence of feminist ideas is seen to circulate within the pastiche treatments of fairy tales and enchantment.

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Lasting thanks to Heather Scutter and Terry Threadgold for their influence, long ago, on my doctoral research, from which this book is distantly adapted. Since then, many people and events have affected its passage, too many to name, so I reserve this space to acknowledge just a few who have directly helped to make the book happen. I am grateful to Daniela Christian, a former editor at Peter Lang for originally commissioning it for publication; and the (former) Faculty of Arts, Education and Social Sciences at James Cook University, for a faculty grant with which I commenced the manuscript in 2011. Big, hearty, warm thanks to Benjamin Fröhlich, also a former editor, for his support and commitment to the book, and to Johanna Lüder and Marina Essig for seeing it to conclusion, and to Associate Professor Nonie Harris, and Professor Michael Ackland, at James Cook University, for wise and kind support. I extend the very same sincere and hearty thanks to Professor Pauline Greenhill, University of Winnipeg, for encouragement, generous advice and for sharing her wondrous knowledge of wonder. It must be said that neither Pauline nor any of those acknowledged are in any way responsible for any decisions about this book – those are entirely mine. Special thanks, too, to Gwynneth for regular updates on the stars; and Fran for the lollies; and Mark for the books, all much appreciated. For companionship and positive distraction I thank almost-human Miss Holly and Mr Milton, who have kindly...

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