Sunday, October 17

Pioneering fairy-tale author Madame d’Aulnoy re-published after centuries | Fairy tales

A story by Madame d’Aulnoy, the 17th-century French writer who coined the term “fairy tales,” will be published in English for the first time in more than 300 years, and tells the story of a woman whose beauty is so great that kills her. lovers by the hundreds.

Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, known as Madame or Countess d’Aulnoy, invented the term “fairy tale”Or fairy tale, when he published his largest collection of them in 1697-98. Unlike his contemporary Charles Perrault, or later authors such as Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm, today his work rarely appears outside of anthologies.

Now Princeton University Press will release a new collection of his work in March, The Island of Happiness, with illustrations and an essay by artist Natalie Frank. It also contains the first English translation of The Tale of Mira, one of D’Aulnoy’s earlier works, in which the beautiful Mira kills dozens of men: “Anyone who saw her fell desperately in love with her. However, her pride and indifference made all her lovers die ”, until she falls in love with a man who is indifferent to her.

Natalie Frank painting for The Tale of Mira, a story on The Island of Happiness.
Natalie Frank painting for The Tale of Mira, a story on The Island of Happiness. Illustration: Natalie Frank / Princeton University Press

Frank called it a “feminist ghost story for all ages” that is “mixed with dark comedy.”

“A traditional fairy tale warns of the dangers of unrequited love; it warns about violence that occurs out of unrequited lust, mocking the seriousness of a tragic fairy tale, ”he writes in his introduction.

Other stories in the book include Finette Cendron, in which a king and queen lose their kingdom due to its decline and abandon their children in the forest; and Belle-Belle, in which a transvestite countess helps a king who has lost his kingdom.

“Ask anyone who is familiar with fairy tales or any scholar about the best classical fairy tales, they will usually only name men: Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen,” said Academician Jack Zipes, who presents and translate the collection. “No one would ever mention the mysterious Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, who was actually the most intriguing pioneer of the literary fairy tale in the 17th century and is still relevant today.”

D’Aulnoy was born in 1650. She married at the age of 13 to a famous player 30 years her senior. He tried unsuccessfully to kill him, spent a brief period in prison and then traveled through Spain and England for more than a decade, during which time he is believed to have worked as a French spy. In 1690, she returned to Paris, where she opened a salon and became France’s leading fairy tale author before her death in 1705, said Zipes, who described her as “more remarkable” than Perrault.

“Powerless, D’Aulnoy and many other talented fairy tale authors … discovered their power through the drawing rooms and by conceiving fairy tales that announced and spoke their social views on civility,” said Zipes. “Aristocratic writers often used the term fairy among themselves, and created an atmosphere in the halls in which they could freely exchange ideas that challenged the hypocrisy and immorality of the court of Louis XIV. “

D’Aulnoy’s tales, she said, “placed women in greater control of their destinies than in men’s fairy tales. It is obvious that the narrative strategies in her stories, such as those she told or learned in the classroom, were intended to expose decadent practices and behaviors among people in her class, particularly those that demean independent women.

“What interested him most was the status of women, the power of love, ethical behavior and the tender relationships between lovers. Without love and without the cultivation of love, she believed that the ideal and just society could not exist ”.

Gloria Steinem praised the upcoming collection and Frank’s interpretation of the stories, saying that “by bringing us back to female heroines and images and lives that were once the heart and soul of older stories, Natalie Frank is giving back to female readers. the right to honor and tell our own stories ”.

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