This project examines how the figure of the split mother in folk tales has changed over three historical eras. First, it focuses on two oral tales originating in the Early Modern period: “Hansel and Gretel” and “The Juniper Tree.” It also looks at Lucy Lane Clifford’s “The New Mother” (1882) and Neil Gaiman’s novel, Coraline (2002). The project examines the cultural and historical anxieties involved in this Good Mother/Bad Mother split. Finally, it questions whether today’s notion of the unattainable ideal mother continues to reflect the prejudices of the Early Moderns and Victorians.


Emily Culp

Elizabeth Napier
Sponsor & Henry N. Hudson Professor of English and American Literatures

Marion Wells
Sponsor & Associate Professor of English and American Literatures

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