Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

by Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont
     
 
Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bête) is a traditional fairy tale. The first published version of the fairy tale was a rendition by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve published in 1740. The best-known written version was an abridgement of her work published in 1756 by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. an English translation appeared in

Overview

Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bête) is a traditional fairy tale. The first published version of the fairy tale was a rendition by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve published in 1740. The best-known written version was an abridgement of her work published in 1756 by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. an English translation appeared in 1757.

Variants of the tale are known across Europe. In France, for example, Zémire et Azor is an operatic version of the story of Beauty and the Beast written by Marmontel and composed by Grétry in 1771. It had enormous success well into the 19th century. It is based on the second version of the tale.
Amour pour amour, by Nivelle de la Chaussée, is a 1742 play based on Villeneuve's version.

A wealthy merchant lived in a mansion with his three daughters, all of whom were very beautiful, but only the youngest, at fourteen, is named Belle for being lovely and pure of heart; her sisters, in contrast, are wicked and selfish. The merchant eventually loses all of his wealth in a tempest at sea, and he and his daughters must therefore live in a small farmhouse and work for their living. After some years of this, the merchant hears that one of the trade ships he had sent off has arrived back in port, having escaped the destruction of its compatriots; therefore, he returns to the city to discover whether it contains anything of monetary value. Before leaving, he asks his daughters whether they desire that he bring them any gift upon his return. His two elder daughters ask for jewels and fine dresses, thinking that his wealth has returned; Belle is satisfied with the promise of a rose, as none grow in their part of the country. The merchant, to his dismay, finds that his ship's cargo has been seized to pay his debts, leaving him without money to buy his daughters their presents.
During his return, he becomes lost in a forest. Seeking shelter, he enters a dazzling palace. He finds inside tables laden with food and drink, which have apparently been left for him by the palace's unseen owner. The merchant accepts this gift and spends the night. The next morning as the merchant is about to leave, he sees a rose garden and recalls that Belle had desired a rose. Upon picking the loveliest rose he finds, the merchant is confronted by a hideous 'Beast', which tells him that for taking his (the Beast's) most precious possession after accepting his hospitality, the merchant must die. The merchant begs to be set free, arguing that he had only picked the rose as a gift for his youngest daughter. The Beast agrees to let him give the rose to Belle, only if the merchant will return, or his daughter goes to the castle in his place.

The merchant is upset, but accepts this condition. The Beast sends him on his way, with jewels and fine clothes for his daughters, and stresses that Belle must come to the castle of her own accord. The merchant, upon arriving home, tries to hide the secret from Belle, but she pries it from him and willingly goes to the Beast's castle. The Beast receives her graciously and informs her that she is mistress of the castle, and he is her servant. He gives her lavish clothing and food and carries on lengthy conversations with her. Each night, the Beast asks Belle to marry him, only to be refused each time. After each refusal, Belle dreams of a handsome prince who pleads with her to answer why she keeps refusing him, and she replies that she cannot marry the Beast because she loves him only as a friend. Belle does not make the connection between the handsome prince and the Beast and becomes convinced that the Beast is holding the prince captive somewhere in the castle. She searches for him and discovers multiple enchanted rooms, but never the prince from her dreams. The story continues from here.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940015682229
Publisher:
Balefire Publishing
Publication date:
09/19/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
12
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Jeanne Marie Leprince de Beaumont (26 April 1711 – 8 September 1780) was a French novelist. She was born in Rouen and died in 1780. She lost her mother when she was only eleven but wrote that she did not mourn her death. The family was very poor and several of her siblings had to be sent away for adoption. She wrote that her mother had suffered terribly at not being able to maintain contact with her children or to establish what had become of them. She therefore felt intuitively that her mother's death was a blessing.

From 1725 - 1735 she taught small children in Ernemont, about ten miles from Rouen. Subsequently, she obtained a prestigious position as a singing teacher to the children at the Court of the Duke of Lorraine, Stanisław Leszczyński, at Lunéville.

Her first marriage, in 1743, was disastrous and was annulled after two years. The Duke of Lorraine had personally paid her dowry, a huge sum, so that she could marry well, but her husband used the dowry to pay off his debts, then used the rest to buy a hotel. There he held wild parties and entertained disreputable characters. After her husband contracted a communicable disease as a result of his lifestyle, she was able to obtain an annulment but she retained her husband's name.

In 1746 she left France to become a governess in London. She was the author of Beauty and the Beast and Other Classic French Fairy Tales. After a successful publishing career in England, she remarried, bore many children, and left England to live the rest of her life in Savoy.

Her first work, the moralistic novel The Triumph of Truth (Le Triomphe de la vérité) was published in 1748. She continued her literary career by publishing many school books. She then began to publish collections she called "magazines" of educational and moral stories and poems for children. She was one of the first to write fairy tales for children. Another well-known storyteller of the era, Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, wrote a story titled Beauty and the Beast. Le Prince de Beaumont revised and abridged this story considerably, in the form in which it is most commonly known, and always included the revised version in the many "magazines" she published over the next 30 years.

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