French Fairy Tales: A Jungian Approach (SUNY Series in Psychoanalysis and Culture)

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Overview

Offers analysis of fourteen French fairy tales, from the medieval Romance of Melusine to Jean Cocteau;s film version of Beauty and the Beast, exploring their universal and eternal nature as well as their relevance to modern readers. BACKCOVER: Bettina L. Knapp explores the universal and eternal nature of fourteen French fairy tales, including the medieval Romance of Mélusine, Charles Perrault's seventeenth-century versions of Sleeping Beauty and Bluebeard, and Jean Cocteau's film version of Beauty and the Beast. She demonstrates the relevance of these fairy tales for modern readers, both for the psychological problems they address and for the positive resolutions they offer. Through her careful examination of these tales, Knapp shows that people in past eras suffered from such supposedly modern problems as alienation and identity crises and went through harrowing ordeals before experiencing some sort of fulfillment. By imparting the age-old wisdom embedded in these works, French Fairy Tales triggers new insights into psychological problems and offers helpful ways of dealing with them.

Author Biography: Bettina L. Knapp is Thomas Hunter Professor at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of many books, including A Jungian Approach to Literature and three SUNY Press books: Gambling, Game, and Psyche; Women in Myth; and Women, Myth, and the Feminine Principle. She is also a Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters, an honor presented by the French government.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Within the area of French fairy tales, I know of no other critical work with such vast chronological range. This is really a trip through the centuries as far as French or comparative literature scholars are concerned. Some of the tales chosen for discussion are original in themselves and have perhaps never been discussed, certainly never this competently: Diderot’s The White Bird, Rousseau’s The Fantastic Queen, Nodier’s The Crumb Fairy, Gautier’s Arria Marcella, George Sand’s The Castle of the Crooked Peak, and Chedid’s The Suspended Heart. The very discussion of these lesser-known tales comes as a happy surprise even to specialists in French literature and is a tribute to Bettina Knapp’s encyclopedic erudition and in-depth knowledge of these tales. In other cases, she deals with tales we might think we know well—Perrault’s, Maeterlinck’s, Cocteau’s, for example—but she makes us feel like we are being introduced to them for the first time, so fresh is her approach.” — Paul Archambault, author of Seven French Chroniclers: Witnesses to History
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Bettina L. Knapp is Thomas Hunter Professor at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of many books, including A Jungian Approach to Literature and three SUNY Press books: Gambling, Game, and Psyche; Women in Myth; and Women, Myth, and the Feminine Principle. She is also a Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters, an honor presented by the French government.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. I The Middle Ages: Feudalism and "La Societe Courtoise" 19
Ch. 1 Melusine: "The Beauty of Things is Fleet and Swift" 23
Pt. II The Seventeenth Century: "Le Grand Siecle" 61
Ch. 2 Charles Perrault's Multi-Veined Donkey Skin, Sleeping Beauty, and Bluebeard 65
Ch. 3 Mme d'Aulnoy's The Bluebird - Metamorphosis, an Unconscious Readjustment 107
Pt. III The Eighteenth Century: "L'Esprit Philosophique" 133
Ch. 4 Denis Diderot's The White Bird - As Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit 137
Ch. 5 Was Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Fantastic Queen Merely a Tongue-in-Cheek Fairy Tale? 157
Pt. IV The Nineteenth Century: "Le Romantisme" - Esthetic and Utilitarian 179
Ch. 6 Charles Nodier's The Crumb Fairy - A Sacred Marriage of Sun and Moon 183
Ch. 7 Theophile Gautier's Parapsychological Hetaera/Fairy: Arria Marcella 203
Ch. 8 Countess Sophie De Segur's Rosette - A Manichean Merry-Go-Round 225
Ch. 9 George Sand's The Castle Of Crooked Peak - The Topography of Memory Manipulation 245
Ch. 10 Maurice Maeterlinck's Pelleas and Melisande - The Dying Complex 283
Pt. V The Twentieth Century: Slaughter/Science/Spirituality 303
Ch. 11 Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast - "The Plucking of a Rose" 307
Ch. 12 Andree Chedid's The Suspended Heart - The Mystery of Being 335
Conclusion 357
Notes 361
References 367
Index 381
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