Roundtable Discussion: Myth and Childhood

Roundtable Discussion: Myth and Childhood

Myth Reading Group
Wednesday 13 November 2019
1.15 – 2.45 pm
Room NTC.3.06

John Bauer – The Princess and the Trolls (1913) [Public Domain]

In this session we invite our members to consider the idea of the “changeling,” and other instances of child abduction by fairies and supernatural beings. The trope of fairies stealing human children and replacing them with a changeling, a fairy child, is not new. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream Oberon and Titania argue over a changeling boy which has been stolen from India; in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s poem “Erlkönig” (1782), a child is stolen by the “Elf-King.” We encourage attendees to think of texts that engage with this aspect of myth and childhood.

Suggested texts:

  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, “Erlkönig” (1782) [Web link]
  • Sir Walter Scott, “On the Fairies of Popular Superstition,” Introduction to “The Tale of Tamlane,” Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, Poetic Works (Edinburgh: Ballantyne, 1833), vol. 2, pp. 317-321. [Web link]
  • Walter Gregor, “How to Find Out a Fairy Changeling,” Notes on the Folk-Lore of the North-East of Scotland (London: Folk-Lore Society, 1881), pp. 8-9. [Web link]

You are welcome to bring your lunch to the session.

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