Sarena Ulibarri; Reese Hogan; Charlotte Honigman; Wendy Nikel; and Lissa Sloan
Fairy tales have timeless appeal for both audiences and creators, especially when they’re updated in a way that speaks to modern sensibilities or are mashed up with another genre to create something familiar yet fresh. Several authors will discuss what’s behind the impulse to retell fairy tales, as well as the challenges of transferring a traditional tale into a nontraditional setting, such as a steampunk world or a different historical setting.
Anne Acker, Department specialist, British Literature, Tusculum University
This paper argues that Gollum’s story has parallels to the story of Malbecco in The Faerie Queene, and that Gollum should be read as an exploration of jealousy and its relationship to power, represented by the Ring that Gollum covets. In Spenser’s allegory, Malbecco is cuckolded and robbed and retreats to a cave in the mountains where he is transformed into the inhuman shape of Jealousy. While The Lord of the Rings is not an allegory and should not be read as one, Smeagol’s transformation into Gollum has striking similarities to this and other strange metamorphoses of characters who represent jealousy or suspicion. Recognizing this can help us identify traits in Gollum that allow him to be inwardly consumed by lust for the Ring. It is also possible to identify in hobbits character traits, such as generosity, fidelity, and friendship, that counter jealousy and allow them to resist the Ring’s power.
Matthew David Goodwin, Assistant Professor, Chicana/o Studies, The University of New Mexico
ADÁL’s Blueprints for a Nation is an art installation that displays artifacts from the conceptual nation of El Spirit Republic de Puerto Rico. This imaginal nation expresses the unique social and linguistic experience of Puerto Ricans living off the island, and its principle tool is speculative worldbuilding. This essay examines two of the speculative roots of Blueprints for a Nation. First, the essay explores “El Mapagraph,” the fictional map of the nation that is in the shape of a domino and that alludes to the common practice of mapping utopias and fantasy worlds. The work also makes clear by its location as “west of Eden” that it is not only working against perfect utopianism, but also the perception of the U.S. that Puerto Rico is primarily significant as a natural resource, a paradise vacation spot, for citizens on the mainland. Second, this essay examines the photos series Out of Focus Nuyoricans that is part of the installation and that has its roots in Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. This series demonstrates how this conceptual nation becomes more than a thought experiment. ADÁL specifically developed the photo series along with his Puerto Rican passport project which was implemented though live-performances. The passport has also at times functioned as an actual passport throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. The essay ends with an articulation of the ways that speculative worldbuilding can be combined with political and aesthetic purposes to create a unique realfantasy world.