Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked: Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale / Edition 1

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In Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked Catherine Orenstein reveals for the first time the intricate sexual politics, moral ambiguities, and philosophical underpinnings of Red Riding Hood's epic journey to her grandmother's house--and how, from the nursery on, fairy tales influence our view of the world. Beginning with its first publication as a cautionary tale on the perils of seduction, written in reaction to the licentiousness of the court of Louis XIV, Orenstein traces the many lives the tale has lived since then, from its appearance in modern advertisements for cosmetics and automobiles, the inspiration it brought to poets such as Anne Sexton, and its starring role in pornographic films. In Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked, Red appears as seductress, hapless victim, riot grrrrl, femme fatale, and even she-wolf, as Orenstein shows how through centuries of different guises, the story has served as a barometer of social and sexual mores pertaining to women. Full of fascinating history, generous wit, and intelligent analysis, Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked proves that the story of one young girl's trip through the woods continues to be one of our most compelling modern myths.
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Editorial Reviews

Michiko Kakutani
Provides the reader with a lucid—and often entertaining—survey of the ways in which 'Little Red Riding Hood' has been rewritten and re-interpreted over the centuries.
New York Times
Wall Street Journal
Beguiling...[Orenstein] cleverly excavates the meaning of specific versions of the tale while exploring its perennial themes of innocence, identity, sexuality, and violence.
Philadelphia Inquirer
Orenstein deftly applies various tools used in the analysis of fairy tales, including psychoanalytic, feminist, and structural theories... We can learn much about ourselves by exploring the past of [Little Red Riding Hood].
Intriguing...Like a director's juicy cut of a film, Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked enriches the common version of the tale with its backstory.
Bitch Magazine
Highly entertaining and intellectually keen.
Catherine Orenstein has a degree in folklore and mythology from Harvard and her academic background is put to good use in her analysis of the Red Riding Hood story from its earliest telling to modern pornographic and movie versions. It is thoroughly researched and uses examples from the many renditions of the story, including the familiar Grimm fairy tale and modern tales by Anne Sexton and Raoul Dahl. Even though the book is written by a scholar, her style is entertaining and never dry. Illustrations show the changes in the authors' and our culture's image of Red Riding Hood. Orenstein's epilogue summarizes her findings that fairy tales show us that within each of our personalities there are characteristics that are opposites and ultimately must be reconciled or conquered if we are going to "live happily ever after." KLIATT Codes: A-Recommended for advanced students and adults. 2002, Basic Books, 289p. illus. notes. bibliog. index., Ages 17 to adult.
— Nola Theiss
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465041268
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 7/17/2003
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 289
  • Sales rank: 652,314
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.55 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Orenstein is a writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, the San Francisco Examiner, Ms., the New York Times Op-Ed page and other publications. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where the idea for Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked began as her senior thesis. She lives in New York City.
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I really want this in NookBook

    Is there any way, on this website, to indicate when you wish a physical book was offered in e-book, or when you wish that e-books offered the LendMe feature? That would be awesome.

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  • Posted July 19, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Who knew!

    Orenstein presents a very interesting look at how gender roles and the story of Little Red are entwined. I will never be able to read another fairy tale the same way again.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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