We're putting the final touches on tomorrow's Fairy Tale Salon (2pm at H2.20, Caulfield campus). As I have a great team working on everything, my work tonight mostly involves fashioning a dashing hat to go with my Puss in Boots inspired ensemble. (Okay, there is more to it, but I'm thinking mostly about the hat!)
I did want to do a quick shout-out to the local guilds who have been so helpful and supportive. The Victorian branch of the storytelling guild has been promoting the salon and the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria helped us to locate a friendly spinner, because we, as a group, felt that a salon wouldn't be complete without spinning.
This may be slightly ironic, since my talk will argue that the French authors tried to distance themselves from the lowly, spinning storytellers promoted by Perrault and the Grimms. Yet, there is an aristocratic, intellectual heritage for spinning, too. Spinners and weavers like Helen and Penelope loom large in the Classics, for example (pardon the slight pun). Likewise, one wouldn't want to denigrate the efforts of the lower class spinners who provided the thread that clothed all ranks.
In short, I feel that although we do want to question the dominant mythology of the spinning peasant woman, we don't want to throw out the spinning wheel either.