(Aside: I still suspect the collection is super limited because it does not include East Asian, African, or Native American tales. However, I haven't studied the Uther update, so maybe he added some?)
Anyhow, these folklorist guys broke down tales into their elements -- princess in a tower, supernatural helper, persecuted heroine -- and assigned numbers to each type. Then they noted which type-numbers tend to occur most frequently together. For instance, the Cinderella story contains both the persecuted heroine and the supernatural helper.
At one point, I thought about writing a story based on the categorization system itself -- super meta! But then I read Seanan Maguire's Indexing and thought, well, somebody did that and did it well.
I also always wanted to write an ATU type 410: a sleeping princess, but, you know, with some kind of twist. Like, she's in space or the coffin is really a Winnebago or something similar. Then I read... well, lots of Sleeping Beauty riffs: Veronica Scott's excellent (and in space!) Trapped on Talonque, David Eddings's Elenium trilogy, a gorgeous unpublished romance by Alison Williams, Anne Rice's erotica series. I started to feel like, well, this has been done, so I put my dimension-hopping, time-pausing, intergalactic queen on ice.
But you know what? There might be a reason why these tale types are done over and over, why they transcend culture and language, and people discuss them in a meta way in universities and academic what-ifferies. So maybe I could have another go at type 410 and no one would mind. We'll see.
Fascinating post! THanks for the shout out to Trapped on Talonque too !ReplyDelete