Sunday, October 23, 2011

Library Essentials Month: Beauties, Beasts and Enchantments: Classic French Fairy Tales edited by Jack Zipes

Beauties, Beasts and Enchantments: Classic French Fairy Tales edited by Jack Zipes is today's library essential. Yes, there seems to be a Beauty and the Beast emphasis this weekend. This is one of the best collections of fairy tales from the French Salon period translated into English. It is the best way to access an English translation of Madame de Villeneuve's entire story of Beauty and the Beast which is actually novella length. Madame Le Prince de Beaumont's derivative of the tale--and the one we are most familiar with--is also in this edition. The small mass market paperback edition, Beauty and the Beast and Other Classic French Fairy Tales, does not have the Villeneuve version. Fortunately, the full version has been reprinted and is much easier to acquire and access.

Zipes's introduction about the salons and the women who dominated them with their fairy tales is also excellent and a great introduction to the topic. Overall, an excellent book and not to be missed if you are interested in the literary history of some of our most popular fairy tales, including those of Charles Perrault which are included in this volume of 36 tales, too.

Description from the publisher:

A new collection of 36 French fairy tales translated by renowned writer and authority on fairy tales, Jack Zipes. Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleepy Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood are some of the classic fairy tales in this amazing book.

Includes illustrations from fairy tale collections.

'Terrific... a succulent array of 17th and 18th century 'salon' fairy tales'

- The New York Times Book Review

'These tales are adventurous, thrilling in a way fairy tales are meant to be... The translation from the French is modern, happily free of archaic and hyperbolic language... a fine and sophisticated collection'

- New York Tribune

'Enjoyable to read... a unique collection of French regional folklore'

- Library Journal

'Charming stories accompanied by attractive pen-and-ink drawings'

- Chattanooga Times

'An excellent collection'

- Booklist.

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