Professor Burwick and Students Publish Book

By Tori Mirsadjadi '12Editor-in-Chief

Professor Roswitha Burwick may be retiring after this year, but not before proving that she has had an indelible impact on 5C academic community. Burwick’s German course on fairy tales, and its permutations beyond the German department and in the Core program over the past four years, has been the impetus behind a newly published collection of modern fairy tales. Editors, artists and authors involved in the project will be part of a student panel on February 24 at noon in the Hampton Room (above Malott Commons). The title of the talk will be “A Fairytale Journey: The Publishing of Merry Sorrows (Un)Happy Endings.” The students, said Burwick, “are very excited to talk about their journey and their project.”

All authors in the collection are students from the Claremont Consortium. The only exception to the 5C-student status of its contributors is illustrator Olivia Vieweg, of Bauhaus Universität zu Weimar, Germany. Thursday’s panel will include Professor Burwick, Julie Lapidus (’11), Jocelyn Price (’11), Anna Loris (’11), Andi M. Renee (’11) and Devin Von Stade (PZ ’11).

Merry Sorrows (Un)Happy Endings was published through Xlibris, an independent book publishing company based in Indiana. Previous Xlibris publications that have achieved critical and commercial success come from myriad genres and include Greatest Living Poet: Strange Gods, Bulk Prophecies by Mark Chandos, Demonstrating to Win!: The Indespensable Guide for Demonstrating Software by Robert Riefstahl and Doris Washington’s poetry collection A Blessing, Caring & Sharing.

Burwick, who contributed an introduction to the collection, is enthusiastic about the fairy tale compilation’s innovative and challenging content. She provides a short history of the courses from which the collection has been culled, and offers tantalizing samples—along with critical explanations—of the rich content to follow.

Julie Lapidus (’11) and Jocelyn Price (’11) served as co-editors-in-chief for the project, managing its overall goals and message. In addition to reading and editing stories for the collection, Lapidus and Price commissioned student artists for contributions. Writing professor Kimberly Drake was also a guiding force in the project, helping students maintain a cohesive theme and voice.

Lapidus emphasized that the book was Professor Burwick’s brainchild, and Burwick led and advised the project from start to finish. Burwick’s original German course on fairy tales was redesigned as a course in translation and then integrated into the Core program as an inter­disciplinary course, team-taught with psychologist Judy LeMaster.

The German course was what Burwick’s introduction called “a philological exercise” drawing on feminist, Marxist, and psychological methodologies and including analysis of films and illustrations. The course in translation (“The Fairy Tale and the Female Story Teller”) prioritized a feminist approach. In 2006, Judy LeMaster and Roswitha Burwick redesigned the course for the Scripps Core program under the title “Once Upon a Time.” Literary and Psychological Approaches to the Fairy Tale.” Judy LeMaster, writes Burwick in her introduction to the collection, “has been instrumental in reshaping my modes of inquiry as well as my approaches to texts, films, and popular culture.” LeMaster “has become a driving force in our intellectual partnership.” This final iteration of the course as “Once Upon a Time.” Literary and Psychological Approaches to the Fairy Tale was an interdisciplinary approach to the genre through the lenses of literature, psychol­ogy, film, architecture, advertisement, pop cultures, and pedagogy.

Burwick’s fairy tale courses have always had the same last assignment: students created a new fairy tale to represent their critical thinking and understanding of the genre. These fairy tales have created an impressive cache of academic content, a testament to the impressive talents which Burwick’s courses over the years have helped mold, voices of perspectives honed by the influence of not only Burwick and LeMaster but of the Core curriculum and Scripps College. Indeed, Burwick said that Core was instrumental in the critical scope of the collection, and that she “pushed the students to become professionals.”

Price, who contributed a story in addition to serving as an editor-in-chief for the project, said that the experience of working on Merry Sorrows (Un)Happy Endings was “one of the most rewarding projects I’ve taken part in here at Scripps.”

Merry Sorrows (Un)Happy Endings is a fitting culminating project for Burwick; it evidences the creative power of the 5Cs. The project was made possible by a gift from William H. Rudluff. It also benefited from support from Margaret McKenzie and the Scripps Core Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Humanities program.

Burwick said that she might like to do a similar project in the future, focused more on critical essays about fairy tales.

David Kaplan, a filmmaker also on campus for last fall’s talk on film and fairy tales, produced a short film about Little Red Riding Hood with Christina Ricci. Kaplan is currently looking over the tales, and is “quite interested in making a short film from one of the tales in the collection,” according to Burwick. Lapidus encourages “anyone interested in learning more about the publication process or about our book” to come to the Thursday panel. In addition to discussing the process, panelists plan to read selections and answer questions. Books will be available for purchase, and book signings will follow the event.