The Daughter of Jenny Greenteeth and Other Stories and An Intersectional Feminist Approach to Writing Modern Fairy Tales

  • Elizabeth Smallwood

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This research aims to delve into how fairy tales can be written from the lens of intersectional feminism and be used to address modern issues for a contemporary audience by exploring its intricacies and nuances through practice as research. The motivation behind this research resides in recognising an inherent, yet underexplored, connection between intersectional feminism and the genre of fairy tales and how they can inform, educate, and explain complex topics. This research aims to contribute a unique insight into the existing body of knowledge by critically interrogating the relationship between intersectional feminism, fairy tales, and their ability to address modern issues for a contemporary audience.
The overarching research question that guides this thesis is: ‘How can the critically intersectional feminist rewriting of fairy tales be used to address modern issues for a contemporary audience?’
This thesis aims to understand and comprehend the intricate dynamics between societal challenges and fairy tale narratives but also explore how such narratives can serve as potent instruments for enhancing audience comprehension.
Methodologically, this research is grounded in structuralism and analytical techniques, leveraging the approach of practice as research. As such, I have written a collection of 16 original fairy tales that illuminate and substantiate the study's findings. The creative portfolio is accompanied by a comprehensive exegesis that analyses the history and definition of a fairy tale, the history and deeper understanding of intersectional feminism, and a reflective element that investigates how these have been applied to my work. The discernible absence of intersectional feminist fairy tales within existing literary canons is underscored, reinforcing the need for this research's contributions to rectify this knowledge gap and expand the repertoire of available narratives that engage intersectionality within the fairy tale genre.
Date of Award17 Jun 2024
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorCalum Kerr (Supervisor), Steven O'Brien (Supervisor) & Rebecca Janicker (Supervisor)

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