Perrault's Fairy Tales

Wordsworth Editions Ltd

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Eight of the twelve tales in this book are from the master hand of Charles Perrault (1628-1703). Although Perrault enjoyed much distinction in the French literary circle of the late seventeenth century, his fame today rests upon his authorship of the traditional 'Tales of Mother Goose', or 'Stories of Olden Times'. And it is true to say that as long as there are children to listen spellbound to the adventures of 'Cinderella', 'Red Riding Hood', and that arch rogue 'Puss in Boots', his memory will endure. Three of the tales, 'The Ridiculous Wishes', 'Donkey-Skin' and 'Patient Griselda', are seldom included in Perrault collections as they were written in a very florid verse form. Not only Perrault, but Boccaccio, Chaucer and others have used the story of 'Patient Griselda'. The last story, 'Beauty and the Beast', again not by Perrault (it was penned by Mme. Leprince de Beaumont 1711-1781), has a similarity of style and celebrity which justifiably merits its inclusion.

Charles Perrault was a French author and member of the prestigious Acadamie Francaise. Taking his inspiration from folk tales, Perrault created the fairy tale genre, including such enduring tales as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Puss in Boots, and Sleeping Beauty, which were published in 1697 as part of his Tales of Mother Goose. Amongst the most influential literary figures in 17th century France, Perrault took part in the creation of the Academy of Sciences, the restoration of the Academy of Painting, and was secretary of the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres. He also initiated the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns, and led the Modern faction which argued that the literature from the century of Louis XIV was superior to that of the ancients. Perrault's work served as an inspiration for the Brothers Grimm, and continues to be adapted for the stage, opera, ballet, and film.


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