Saturday, January 26, 2008

Proppian Fairy Tale Generator

from Yahoo!Picks

Trickery! Villainy! Violation! Pursuit! In the 1930s, a Russian scholar named Vladimir Propp studied the "basic plot components" of his country's folk tales and came up with a list of the mythic stories' "series of actions"—or "functions." Though the Eastern European thinker surely didn't imagine the rise of the Internet, an imaginative class at Brown University has brought Web and academic together with the Proppian Fairy Tale Generator. This ingenious online game presents the basic structures of the fables Propp dissected. You, the reader, select which functions you like. Click as many as you want: Mediation? Branding? Reconnaissance? Hit "generate" and a fairy tale based on your choices will appear before your very eyes. Note: Disney these ain't. Even the "preset" versions of Cinderella, Snow White, and Hansel and Gretel read like nothing you've heard (or seen) before. The legends woven by this raconteur of a generator are imaginative, richly detailed, and undomesticated. The Grimms would approve. So, we like to think, would Vladimir Propp.

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