Twice upon a Time: Women Writers and the History of the Fairy Tale / Edition 1

Twice upon a Time: Women Writers and the History of the Fairy Tale / Edition 1

by Elizabeth Wanning Harries
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691115672

ISBN-13: 9780691115672

Pub. Date: 09/02/2003

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Fairy tales, often said to be ''timeless'' and fundamentally ''oral,'' have a long written history. However, argues Elizabeth Wanning Harries in this provocative book, a vital part of this history has fallen by the wayside. The short, subtly didactic fairy tales of Charles Perrault and the Grimms have determined our notions about what fairy tales should be like.

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Overview

Fairy tales, often said to be ''timeless'' and fundamentally ''oral,'' have a long written history. However, argues Elizabeth Wanning Harries in this provocative book, a vital part of this history has fallen by the wayside. The short, subtly didactic fairy tales of Charles Perrault and the Grimms have determined our notions about what fairy tales should be like. Harries argues that alongside these ''compact'' tales there exists another, ''complex'' tradition: tales written in France by the conteuses (storytelling women) in the 1690s and the late-twentieth-century tales by women writers that derive in part from this centuries-old tradition.

Grounded firmly in social history and set in lucid prose, Twice upon a Time refocuses the lens through which we look at fairy tales. The conteuses saw their tales as amusements for sophisticated adults in the salon, not for children. Self-referential, frequently parodic, and set in elaborate frames, their works often criticize the social expectations that determined the lives of women at the court of Louis XIV.

After examining the evolution of the ''Anglo-American'' fairy tale and its place in this variegated history, Harries devotes the rest of her book to recent women writers—A. S. Byatt, Anne Sexton, Angela Carter, and Emma Donoghue among them—who have returned to fairy-tale motifs so as to challenge modern-day gender expectations. Late-twentieth-century tales, like the conteuses', force us to rethink our conception of fairy tales and of their history.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691115672
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/02/2003
Edition description:
First Paperback Edition
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
6.02(w) x 9.28(h) x 0.59(d)

Table of Contents

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xi

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xiii

INTRODUCTION: Once, Not Long Ago 3

CHAPTER ONE: Fairy Tales about Fairy Tales: Notes on Canon Formation 19

CHAPTER TWO: Voices in Print: Oralities in the Fairy Tale 46

CHAPTER THREE: The Invention of the Fairy Tale in Britain 73

INTERLUDE: Once Again 99

CHAPTER FOUR: New Frames for Old Tales 104

CHAPTER FIVE: The Art of Transliteration 135

CONCLUSION: Twice-Told Tales 160

NOTES 165

BIBLIOGRAPHY 193

INDEX 211

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