Folklore & Folklife
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K. Elizabeth Spillman

K. Elizabeth Spillman

Graduate Student
Folklore Program
University of Pennsylvania
3619 Locust Walk, Fourth Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104
phone: (215) 898-7467
fax: (215) 573-2231

email: KElizabeth at

MA Thesis in Folklore, University of Pennsylvania, 2004

"The Paradox of Neo-paganism: The Urban Practice of a Nature-Based Faith"

MA Thesis in Literature, University of Wales, Bangor, 2007

"The Morphology of a Love Story: Syntagmatic and Paradigmatic Structures in Romance Fiction"

Prospective Dissertation Topic

Postmodern Fairy Tales in American Life

Research Interests

I am especially interested in the intersection of oral and literary traditions. My research centers around the ongoing story tradition: the oral and literary transmission of tales, the retelling, recycling and evolution of tales, their penetration of nonliterary genres, and their permeation of the popular culture. I devote particular attention to folk narratives and fairy tales; fictive genres; romance fiction; the fantastic in literature; archetypes, stereotypes, and tropes; witches and enchantress figures; neo-paganism and narratives of spiritual awakening; and illustrations and other visual depictions of the fantastic.


Review: "Fairy Tale Review.  The Violet Issue.  Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, 2007." Marvels and Tales, 23 (1):2009, 191-193.

“A Managing Female”: Complicating Genre and Bending Gender in Georgette Heyer’s Heroines, forthcoming in The Mind of Love, ed. Sarah Frantz and Eric Selinger, under review

Selected Conference Presentations

"Cross-Dressing and Disguise in Heyer's Historical Romances, Rereading Georgette Heyer, Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge, UK, to be presented November 2009

"The Power of Pink Plastic: Fairy Tales, Commodification, and Carnival, Panel: Repurposing Folktales, American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, Boise, Idaho, to be presented October 2009

"Troubling the Boundaries: The Fairy Tale for Young Adults, The Fairy Tale After Angela Carter, University of East Anglia, UK, April 2009

Wedding the Texts: Intertextuality and Invention in Contemporary American Weddings, Panel: It's Not All "Hybrid": Intertextuality and Folkloristics, American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, Louisville, Kentucky, October 2008

“The Princess/Bride: Deconstructing the Fairy-Tale Wedding,” Popular Culture Association, San Francisco, California, to be presented March 2008

“No Salt But Tears: Troubling the History of King Lear,” Panel: Iconicity and the Folktale, American Folklore Society/Folklore Studies Association of Canada Joint Annual Meeting, Quebec, Canada, October 2007

“Magic Mirrors: Reflections in the Text,” Third Annual Pushing Boundaries: Extreme Folklore and Ethnomusicology Conference, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, March 2007

“Cross-Dressing and Disguise: Complicating Gender in Folk and Fairy Tales,” Panel: Constructing Gender Across Narrative Genres, American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 2006

“Alternative Austens: Rewriting a Canon,” Contemporary Women’s Writing Network Inaugural Conference, Bangor, Wales, April 2006

“Tam Lin Transformed: the medieval roots and modern revisions of an eighteenth-century ballad,” Medievalism Transformed: Back and Forth in Medieval Studies, Inaugural Conference, University of Wales, Bangor, June 2005

“Locating Magic: Sites of Neo-pagan Community and Consumption,” Western States Folklore Society Annual Meeting, Eugene, Oregon, April 2005

“Methodology Between Disciplines: Folklore & Literature,” University of Wales English Postgraduate Conference, Gregynog, February 2005

Membership/Professional Affiliations

American Folklore Society
Contemporary Women Writers Network
Popular Culture Association

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