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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Inventions of the Text Seminar Series

Inventions of the Text complements our Research Seminar series. Inventions is organised by a team of postgraduate researchers, and combines papers by academics from Durham and beyond with presentations by PhD students. Seminars run roughly every couple of weeks during term time, with around eight or nine events a year. After each seminar, attendees are welcome to socialise with the speaker(s) over dinner. They are generally for University staff and students, although sometimes open to the public.

Forthcoming Inventions of the Text Seminars

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

Past Inventions of the Text Seminars