Worth of Fairy Tales in Jeanette Winterson's "the Passion" Essay

Worth of Fairy Tales in Jeanette Winterson's "the Passion" Essay

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When saying that there are certain folk or fairy tales about herself, Jeanette Winterson could not be more right, because there are indeed several myths surrounding her person. For many people Winterson's sexuality is the golden key to her public persona. Although she correctly states that `[she is] a writer who happens to like women, [and] not a lesbian who happens to write' most critics are only too willing to interpret her writing in an autobiographical way and restrict her to the literary persona of a lesbian writer only. However, this whole obsession about her sexuality is not the only myth surrounding her. Furthermore, critical opinion likes to describe her as a novelist who feels the constant need to defend her writing against the critics. As a result Jeanette Winterson is perceived as (and maybe really is) one of those arrogant writers who want to place their work in the tradition of English literature by pretending that none of her contemporaries will ever be able to be on the same level of writing competence than herself.

Although, according to the author herself, these fairy tales surrounding her public and literary persona `are assumed to be worth more than the are', there is no doubt concerning a certain value of fairy tales in her novel The Passion. In the following essay, I would like to examine the `worth' of fairy tales in this piece of work. That is to say, the numerous fairy tale and mythical elements of the novel shall be discussed, as well as their value for the novel as a whole and the effect they have on the reader.

First of all, it is justified to claim that no one but Jeanette Winterson herself will ever be able to really answer the question of why she chose to include this vast amount of fairy t...


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...im, Bruno, The Use of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (London: Penguin, 1975).

Warner, Maria, From the Beast to the Blonde: Fairy Tales and their Tellers (London: Chatto & Windus, 1994).

Winterson, Jeanette, The Passion (London: Vintage, 1987).

Zipes, Jack, Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk and Fairy Tale (London: Heinemann, 1979).

Electronic Sources:

Jeanette Winterson's Official Website:

http://www.jeanettewinterson.com/pages/books/the_passion.htm (26/02/2003)

The Jeanette Winterson Reader's Site:

http//w1.181.telia.com/~u18114424/main/novels/passion.htm (26/02/2003)

The Scriptorium:

http://www.themodernworld.com/scriptorium/winterson.html (26/02/2003)

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