Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Domna C. Stanton

Committee Members

Francesca Canadé Sautman

Jerry W. Carlson

Subject Categories

Comparative Literature | French and Francophone Literature | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Visual Studies


narratology, incest, fairy tales, transmedia


Unnatural Issue: Gendered Adaptations of “Peau d’Âne” in Contemporary French and English Texts explores trans-genre and transmedia adaptations of Charles Perrault’s seventeenth-century fairy tale using feminist and narratological theories to examine gendered aspects of storytelling and the treatment of father-daughter incest and blame in the work of selected French, British, and American creators. Texts are read comparatively, with analyses of the adaptations’ plots, motifs, characterizations, and modifications, both in relation to Perrault and to the other adaptations. This dissertation features prose and poetry texts by female authors—including Christine Angot, Catherine Cusset, and Emma Donoghue—in the first two chapters. Reading these textual adaptations for the ways in which female characters are rewritten, this study examines the manifestations of the Enabling Mother and Seductive Daughter tropes in these incest narratives through explorations of the “good” and “bad” mother, fashion and animal studies, and forms of abjection. The last two chapters analyze “visual” adaptations across media, including a film (Jacques Demy), a graphic novel (Edmond Baudoin), and a video game (Telltale Games). The father/king and prince characters are examined in these male-created texts to explore reactions to incestuous desire and the role of the marriage plot. Unnatural Issue reveals that what concerns the adaptations by female authors is not what is important in the retellings by male authors, which conveys gendered forms of anxiety: in the textual narratives, it is fear of suffering from father-daughter incest and its subsequent trauma, while in the visual versions, it is the fear of suffering the consequences of incestuous desire.