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Research Journal Part I: Pre Production

August 16, 2019 0 Comments

Research Journal Part I: Pre Production

 

As my masters degree in illustration for Authorial Practice continued into a new project, I decided to create a product to sell inspired by my research into folklore and the Aarne-Thompson-Uther tale type index, or ATU. 

 

Initially I thought I might create a booklet as a guide for researchers new to the ATU (and also the accompanying motif Index) illustrating various tale types and motifs to headline each of the chapters the volumes have been organised into. My research got a bit heavy at the start of the term, and I made a comprehensive list of motifs and tales I planned to illustrate. It was a bit ambitious as I would need to make dozens of illustrations in a short space of time. I wanted to experiment with new techniques this term, such as machine embroidery, 3D printing, or Gocco Printing. I also wanted to then turn these illustrations into various products.  I began to research and collate the tales and motifs I felt would be best to illustrate the “guide” book, so that every single motif or tale type category was represented. This was actually harder than I thought as I had to cross-reference a lot of books and read the entire catalogue in order to locate the types and motifs I needed. Here is a diagram that shows how I was collecting the stories and motifs:

 

Animal Tales - BILLY GOATS GRUFF [B: Animals - 122E, Wait for the fat goat, K553.2, OR 112, Country Mouse visits Town Mouse, J211.2]

TALE

Tales of Magic - 514, The Shift of Sex, K1837.

TALE

Religious Tales - 768, St. Christopher and the Christ Child, Q25

MOTIF

Realistic Tales - 926E, Eginhard and Emma, K1549.3

TALE

Tales of the Stupid Ogre - 1137, The Blinded Ogre, G100

MOTIF

Anecdotes & Jokes - 1333, The Shepherd who cried “Wolf!”, J2172.1

MOTIF

Formula Tales - 2010A, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Z22.1, Z22.2

MOTIF

MASTER PFRIEM [A: Mythological Motifs - A661.0.1.2. Saint Peter as porter of heaven. *Types 800, 801 “Master Pfriem”, 804]

MOTIF

THE DOG AND THE SAILOR [B: Animals - 540, The Dog and the Sailor, B541.4 OR 531, The Clever Horse, B211.1.3, B133, B401]

TALE

THE DONKEY [C: Tabu - . †C758.1. Monster born because of hasty (inconsiderate) wish of parents.**Tegethoff 24; *Types 425, 430 “The Donkey”, 433B, 441]

MOTIF

THE PIED PIPER [D: Magic - 570, The Rat Catcher, D1224, D1427.1, D1441.1.2]

TALE

THE FLYING DUTCHMAN [E: The Dead - 777, The Flying Dutchman, E511-E512 OR 970 The Twining Branches, E631.0.1]

TALE

TOM THUMB [F: Marvels - 700, Thumbling, F535.1]

MOTIF

JACK AND THE BEANSTALK [G: Ogres - 328A, Jack and the Beanstalk, G84]

TALE

RUMPLESTILTSKIN [H: Tests - 500, The Name of the Supernatural Helper, H914, H1021.8, H1092, H521]

MOTIF

THREE LITTLE PIGS [J: The Wise and the Foolish - 124, Blowing the House In, J2133.7 OR 50A, The fox sees all tracks going into lion’s den but none coming out, J644.1]

MOTIF

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD [K: Deceptions - 333: Little Red Riding Hood, K2011]

TALE

L: Reversal of Fortune (L161 “Lowly Hero marries Princess”)

MOTIF

M: Ordaining the Future (M211 “Man sells soul to devil”)

MOTIF

N: Chance & Fate - 954, The Forty Thieves, N455.3, N512, N478, N471

TALE

P: Society (P233.8 Prodigal Son Returns)

MOTIF

Q: Rewards & Punishments - 729, The Merman’s Golden Axe, Q3.1

MOTIF

R: Captives & Fugitives - 874, Ariadne’s thread, R121.5

MOTIF

S: Unnatural Cruelty - 327A, Hansel and Gretal, S321, S143

TALE

T: Sex - 899A, Pyramus and Thisbe, T41.1

MOTIF

U: The Nature of Life

MOTIF

V: Religion

MOTIF

W: Traits of Character

MOTIF

X: Humour

MOTIF

Z: Miscellaneous

MOTIF

 

However during this research something awesome happened. You can see I sort of stopped "dead in my tracks" in the above table when I got to the "The Nature of Life" chapter. Well, it was at this point in my research that I was cross checking something or other in the animal motif section and I stumbled upon a tale type that changed everything.

I discovered what I believe to be a gay fairytale that’s been erased from history in the ATU. It’s called “The Dog and the Sailor”, tale type 540 in the ATU category "Tales of Magic", and exists in many different cultures having been documented first in the early 19th Century. This, I realised, was the “new knowledge” I’d been on a quest to find during my research and I was really happy... a story about mental health (the Sailor has depression) with a fabulously gay storyline... with a happy ending! It felt like I had discovered the Holy Grail... the story I’d longed for as a child and the Disney movie I wished existed. That was it! I had found a research project I could really dig my teeth into, perhaps even at PhD level.

 “Is the dog and the sailor tale type a gay fairytale?” is a big question and the start I hope of a significant research journey for me.

First I needed to locate the known publications in the world in which "the dog and the sailor" tale type existed. Thankfully, this is exactly what the ATU is used for as a resource - to locate these publications. 

I returned to the ATU, and cross referenced the tale type with the appendices which again took some time to do. From this research I learnt that this tale type exists in 7 known publications and seems to have originated from Scandinavia as the books it's listed as appearing in are Finnish, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Frisian and finally German.

I was really pleased - it had been a very "bookish" start to what was meant to be a practical project, but sometimes research alongside practice opens a door you have just got to enter! Moving forwards, I was loving being a "Story Detective" and couldn't wait to extend this research into my final year essay/presentation and beyond.

To commit to the project I have made a banner ad for my website... a 'teaser' in the Disney style which is just a logo and a hint of what's to come.

 

 





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