Retelling Cinderella

Cultural and creative transformations

Cinderella’s transformation from a lowly, overlooked servant into a princess who attracts everyone’s gaze has become a powerful trope within many cultures. Inspired by the Cinderella archive of books and collectables at the University of Bedfordshire, the collection of essays in Retelling Cinderella: Its Cultural and Creative Transformations  demonstrate how the story remains active in various different societies where social and family relationships are adapting to modern culture. The volume explores the social arenas of dating apps and prom nights, as well as contemporary issues about women’s roles in the home, and gender identity.

Cinderella’s cultural translation is seen through the contributors’ international perspectives: from Irish folklore to the Colombian Cenicienta costeña (Cinderella of the coast) and Spanish literary history. Its transdisciplinarity ranges from fashion in Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm’s publications to a comparison of Cinderella and Galatea on film, and essays on British authors Nancy Spain, Anne Thackeray Ritchie and Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Cinderella postcard

Delittle Fenwick & Co 1904 from the Cinderella collection at the University of Bedfordshire

Cinderella Christmas Card

Raphael Tuck c1902 no 3472 from the Cinderella collection at the University of Bedfordshire

Retelling Cinderella: Cultural and Creative Transformations
edited by Nicola Darwood and Alexis Weedon
Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2020


‘The global success of Tinder is so widespread that it brought about the introduction of new jargon related to online dating, including the term ‘Tinderella’. Generally indicating a female app user, the term plays with the Cinderella fairy tale and has generated a diverse collection of paraphernalia that reflects the complexities of dating in the twenty-first century.’ — Marta Cola and Elena Caoduro

 ‘In order to understand the humour or criticism embedded in the memes requires a cultural background that represents how certain products have become part of the cultural repertoire of those exchanging the material.’ —Enrique Uribe-Jongbloed
and César Mora-Moreo

‘Nancy Spain’s appropriation of the tale should however be read as part of the tradition of both the form of pantomime, and the pantomime of Cinderella in which comic gags—which can trace their roots back, arguably, to the commedia dell’arte and French ‘Night Pieces’, through the development of the pantomime in the nineteenth century, and Henry Marshall’s ‘gag book’ of the 1940s—all culminate in a novel which, while maybe not credible, is definitely, as the full title would suggest, ‘an entertainment’.’ — Nicola Darwood

‘The staircase in both literature and film is a symbol of the way the lives of the characters can go up and down the social scale. This is a trope in film noir and the gangster genre where the narrative arc of the protagonist rises and falls in success…this image plays a significant role in Cinderella where it is also about change’ —Eleanor Andrews