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In Search of Lost Books       

The Old King Cole, Maxwell Parrish (detail) Once upon a time... Fabulists and fairy tales

For starters: Basile's "Lo cunto de li cunti" (Pentamerone)

Well deserving of entering the realm of fairy tales, Basile stands midway between the oral and the literary folk tale traditions, setting the tone for later developments (Perrault among others), but maintaining a realistic, down-to-earth connection to the heathen origins of these tales. Humor, irony, and magic intertwine to entertain readers and audiences. As it later developed, the fairy tale movement (mostly of a feminine character) reflected the aristocratic reaction to the Sun King reactionary rule, and its themes betray the top preoccupations with ladies and gentlemen of the time: marriage, court life and exile, bienseances and death. [ For Basile's Pentamerone, see Baroque's page.

online version:
Recommended reading:
From Court to Forest, by Nancy Canepa (£33.95 at Amazon UK)

"A critical and historical study of the beginnings of the modern literary fairy tale. Giambattista Basile's "Lo Cunto de li Cunti" written in Neapolitan dialect and published in 1634-36, comprises 50 fairy tales and was the first integral collection of literary fairy tales to appear in Western Europe. It contains some of the best-known fairy tale types, such as Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, Cinderella, and others, many in their earliest literary versions."
[ from the Amazon.co.uk site ]
See full article (dartmouth.edu)

Short Story (britannica.com)
Novelle popolari toscane, by Giuseppe Pitré
[ also in this site: a few of Italo Calvino's, excerpts from Arabian Nights, the Cronica by Dino Campana, Macchiavelli's novella Belfagor, as well as Boccaccio's Decameron. ]

Single Fairy Tales

Beauty and the Beast

Much muligned through the excessive media commercialization of Disney's production, this classic tale goes back to Apuleius' Cupid and Psyche tale contained in his Golden Ass. The basic theme of the animal lover survived through the leopard prince tale in the Arabian Nights, which landed only much later in European consciousness, in early XVIII Century through the translation of (???) Gallant. The earliest version of the story appeared in French in 1740 by the pen of Madame Villeneuve. It was a 350-page novel, filled with imaginative reproductions of Baroque love for theatrical extravaganzas, but it was completely distorted n the much more famous (and much shorter) didactic version by Madame Beaumont. Whereas in Villeneuve's version the Beast transforms into a charming prince only after the wedding night, in Beaumont's version the Beast instantly turns into a charming hero as soon as Belle agrees to marry him. Furthermore, this later version puts much stress on Beauty's moral superiority over her sisters, whereas Villeneuve's heroine triumphs simply for being more charmig herself, more sociable, more "sensitive."

online texts:

on the origins:
general overview:

recommended readings:
Beauty and the Beast : A Creative Tale from the Collection Once upon a Time
Aulnoy, Etienne Delessert (Illustrator), Marie Cahterine Aulnoy
Amazon.co.uk Price: £11.24

Le Cabinet Des Fees Vol 1 by Madame D'Aulnoy
Amazon.co.uk Price: £9.50

online texts:
La belle aux cheveux d'or, de Mme d'Aulnoy (français)
Joliette by Mme d'Aulnoy (français)
Finette Cendron, by Mme d'Aulnoy (français)

The Classic Fairy Tales,
Maria Tatar (Editor)
Amazon.co.uk Price: £7.95

"Gathering together 44 tales from around the world, from the 5th century on, this critical edition examines the genre, its cultural implications and its critical history. She has focused on six different tale types, and includes multicultural variants and literary rescriptings."

The Uses of Enchantment,
Bruno Bettelheim
Amazon.co.uk Price: £7.99

"The author wrote this book to help adults become aware of the irreplacable importance of fairy tales. By revealing the true content of such stories he shows how children may make use of them to cope with their baffling emotions, whether they be feelings of smallness and helplessness or the anxieties the child feels about strangers and the mysteries of the outside world. Taking the best-known stories in turn, he demonstrates how they work, consciously or unconsciously, to support and free the child."

The Hard Facts of the Grimms' Fairy Tales,
Maria Tatar
Amazon.co.uk Price: £11.24

"Discusses how the Grimms censored fairly tales, examines the violence and cruelty found in the stories, and suggests an approach to interpreting them."

Spells of Enchantment : The Wondrous Fairy Tales of Western Culture,
Jack Zipes (Editor)
Amazon.co.uk Price: £12.49

"Gathers literary fairy tales by authors from Apuleius, Charles Perrault, Wilhelm Grimm, and Nathaniel Hawthorne to James Thurber, Italo Calvino, Stanislaw Lem, and Jane Yolen."

The Great Fairy Tale Tradition,
Jack Zipes (Editor)
Amazon.co.uk Price: £9.95

"Jack Zipes aims to disprove conventional wisdom regarding the origins of the Grimm fairy tales, which holds that the Grimms collected their tales from the oral tradition of peasants. He argues that the Grimms took most of their tales from literary sources, rewriting them again and again. These tales are based on a great literary tradition. The tales, 116 in all, are thematically grouped, and are accompanied by detailed introductions and annotations. The "Criticism" section includes seven important assessments of different aspects of the fairy tale tradition. Brief biographies of the storytellers and a selected bibliography are included."

More fairy resources

On the history of fairy tales

url: http://www.geocities.com/WallStreet/Floor/2391/essays/essay22.htm

Intro alla Fiaba (italian)

Contes d'auteurs (français)

Litérature de jeunesse hébergé par "Ricochet" (français)

Bibliographie (français)

La mode des contes de fees par Christine Fucili (français)

Contes de Charles Perrault (français)


Animal Brides (Bullfinch)
Belle et Bete Journal Article Bibliography
Quiller-Couch's Bluebeard (bartleby's)
Bluebeard Folktales of types 312 and 312A (Bullfinch)
Classical Folktales (Bullfinch)

I fabulisti




A Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights)
(trans. engl. 1700, trans. arabic 850 from "thousand legends" in indian - trans. french also 1700 ca.)

Marie de France


Geoffrey Chaucer

M. de Navarre

giovanni francesco Straparola


La Fontaine


Cabinet des fees

Bros Grimm

Classical Folktales (Bullfinch)
url: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/collections.html

J. de La Fontaine:
Les Fables De La Fontaine
(nonché versione "choisis" dei Larousse)

Selected Fables (World's Classics) Jean De LA Fontaine, Christopher Wood (Translator), Maya Slater (Editor) Paperback (October 1995) Oxford University Press; ISBN: 0192824406 pic: fontainen.jpg http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0192824406/narrative07-21

Les Fables De La Fontaine Fontaine Paperback Editions Flammarion; ISBN: 2080707817 pic: fontainef.jpg http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/2080707817/narrative07-21

La Bruyere: Les caracteres
(versione "extraits" dei Larousse)
Les Caracteres La Bruyere Paperback Livre de Poche; ISBN: 2253015059 http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/2253015059/narrative07-21 Les Caracteres De Theophraste La Bruyere Paperback Editions Flammarion; ISBN: 2080700723 pic: bruyere2.jpg http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/2080700723/narrative07-21

perrault: Contes Perrault Paperback (17 September, 1999) Gallimard-Jeunesse; ISBN: 2070408981 http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/2070408981/narrative07-21

Contes (spec order) C. Perrault Paperback (1998) Livre de Poche; ISBN: 2253052949 http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/2253052949/narrative07-21

Perrault's Fairy Tales Charles Perrault, A. E. Johnson, Gustave Dore (Illustrator) Paperback - 116 pages (June 1969) Dover Publications; ISBN: 0486223116 http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0486223116/narrative07-21

Tales from Perrault (few) Tony James Chance (Illustrator), Ann Lawrence (Translator) Paperback - 128 pages new edition (8 August, 1996) Oxford University Press; ISBN: 0192741756 http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0192741756/narrative07-21

Complete Fairy Tales Illus.W.Heath Robinson Charles Perrault Not Yet Published: You may still order this title. We will send it to you when it is released by the publisher. Hardcover - 192 pages (1 January, 1962) Viking Children's Books; ISBN: 0722652682 http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0722652682/narrative07-21

Pagine attinenti:

Figurative Arts



Titoli disponibili presso

Nancy Canepa, From Court to Forest

The Old King Cole, Maxwell Parrish (detail)

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