Secrets beyond the Door: The Story of Bluebeard and His Wives / Edition 1

Secrets beyond the Door: The Story of Bluebeard and His Wives / Edition 1

by Maria Tatar
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691127832

ISBN-13: 9780691127835

Pub. Date: 09/13/2006

Publisher: Princeton University Press

The tale of Bluebeard's Wife—the story of a young woman who discovers that her mysterious blue-bearded husband has murdered his former spouses—no longer squares with what most parents consider good bedtime reading for their children. But the story has remained alive for adults, allowing it to lead a rich subterranean existence in novels ranging from

Overview

The tale of Bluebeard's Wife—the story of a young woman who discovers that her mysterious blue-bearded husband has murdered his former spouses—no longer squares with what most parents consider good bedtime reading for their children. But the story has remained alive for adults, allowing it to lead a rich subterranean existence in novels ranging from Jane Eyre to Lolita and in films as diverse as Hitchcock's Notorious and Jane Campion's The Piano.

In this fascinating work, Maria Tatar analyzes the many forms the tale of Bluebeard's Wife has taken over time, particularly in Anglo-European popular culture. It documents the fortunes of Bluebeard, his wife, and their marriage in folklore, fiction, film, and opera, showing how others took the Bluebeard theme and revived it with their own signature twists.

In some tales the wife is a deceiver; in others she is a clever investigator. Earlier ages denounced Bluebeard's wife for her "reckless curiosity" and for her "uncontrolled appetite"; our own times have turned her into something of a heroine, a woman who rescues herself—and often her marriage—through her detective work and psychological finesse. And as for Bluebeard? Once considered a one-dimensional brute, he has found renewed cultural energy both as a master criminal who kills in order to create a higher moral order and as an artist figure who must shield himself against intimacy to foster his creative powers. A brilliant account of how one classic fairy tale has been continually reincarnated, Secrets beyond the Door will appeal to both literary scholars and general readers.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691127835
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/13/2006
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi
INTRODUCTION 1
CHAPTER 1: The Attractions of "Bluebeard": The Origins and Fortunes of a Folktale 11
CHAPTER 2: "Have You ever really been afraid? . . . of a man?. . . of a house?. . . of yourself?”: Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre,
Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, and Modern Gothics 67
CHAPTER 3: Investigative Pleasures: Bluebeard’s Wife in Hollywood 89
CHAPTER 4: Rewriting "Bluebeard": Resisting the Cult of Death 108
CHAPTER 5: Monstrous Wives: Bluebeard as Criminal and Cultural Hero 132
CHAPTER 6: The Art of Murder: Bluebeard as Artist and Aesthete 152
EPILOGUE 169

APPENDIX
Cultural Variants of "Bluebeard" 175
Charles Perrault,"Bluebeard" 175
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm,"The Robber Bridegroom" 179
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm,"Fitcher’s Bird" 182
Joseph Jacobs,"Mr. Fox" 185
Thomas Frederick Crane,"How the Devil Married Three Sisters" 187
Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe, "The Hen Is Tripping in the Mountain" 190
Gaston Maugard,"The White Dove" 194
Richard Chase,"Mr.Fox" 198
Guy Wetmore Carryl, "How the Helpmate of Blue-Beard Made Free with a Door" 202
Rose Terry Cooke,"Blue-Beard’s Closet," 1861 205
Edna St. Vincent Millay, Untitled Bluebeard Sonnet 207

Notes 209
Bibliography 225
Primary Literature 225
Secondary Literature 229
Films 239
Index 241

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