marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of an Old Tale by Betsy Hearne

Being not a retelling or an anthology thereof, but an analysis.

Starting with folkloric motifs that were used in it -- the animal bride/bridegroom is found throughout the world, but no telling what version was drawn on for what is unquestionably a literary tale, even though it returned to the oral tradition and got varied there.  The first version, by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve,, had an elaborate backstory wherein Beauty was not the daughter of the merchant but of a king and his fairy wife, substituted for the merchant's dead baby to protect her from an evil fairy -- and the Beast's cousin, he having been transformed by the same evil fairy for repulsing her advances.  How it first got redacted by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont, into the version we all know and love.

It roves through books, for children and adults, plays, film, and all sorts of variations.
Tags: lit crit, non-historical non-fiction reviews

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