Friday, 26 April 2019

Book Review: The Complete Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault (Folklore)

Title: The Complete Fairy Tales
Author: Charles Perrault
Publisher:
OUP

Publication Date: 2010 (1697)
Pages:
204
Format:
Paperback
Genre:
Folklore
Source:
Bought Copy




Charles Perrault's versions gave classic status to the humble fairy tale, and it is in his telling that the stories of Little Red Riding-Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and the rest have been passed down from the seventeenth century to the present day. Perrault's tales were enjoyed in the salons of Louis XIV as much as they were loved in the nursery, and it is their wit, humor, and lively detail that capture the imagination of adult and child alike. They transmute into vivid fantasies the hidden fears and conflicts by which children are affected: fears of abandonment, or worse, conflicts with siblings and parents, and the trials of growing up.

In addition to the familiar stories, this edition also includes the three verse tales--the troubling account of patient Griselda, the comic Three Silly Wishes, and the notorious Donkey-Skin. This translation by Christopher Betts captures the tone and flavor of Perrault's world, and the delightful spirit of the originals.


I enjoyed this collection of Perrault's take on a variety of tales, some well known, others less so. I particularly enjoyed the new-to-me Donkey-Skin. However, what really sets off this work are the excellent accompanying notes that consider different interpretations and permutations of the tales. I found those fascinating and spent nearly as long reading those as I did the tales themselves. This book is a worthy addition to the folklore and fairy tale shelf in any library.

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