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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

The Ethics of Enchantment: The Role of Fairy Tales in the Ethical Imagination

26th April 2017, 17:30 to 19:00, Seminar Room, Hallgarth House, Dr Elizabeth McKinnell (Durham University)

An Inventions of the Text seminar.

Are fairy tales pieces of moral instruction, or are they mere diversions, intended to provoke excitement and wonder? In this piece, I argue that they are neither: fairy tales have an ethical role, but this is in virtue of the ways that they engage the imagination, rather than through providing a set of veiled moral commands. I discuss this in relation to two stories from the brothers Grimm, linking well-known scholarship on fairy tales to philosophical concepts in Simone de Beauvoir, Martha Nussbaum and Jean-Paul Sartre. I show how these stories can help us develop a subtle understanding of moral complexity, freedom and embodiment.

Contact for more information about this event.

Related Links


Research in English At Durham (READ) blog showcasing the the literary research emerging from the Department of English Studies


We host a large number of conferences, lectures and seminars each year, many of them open to the public. Find out more on our Events page.


Many of our public lectures, seminars and conferences are recorded, and can be listened to as podcasts.

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