Catalogue


Twice upon a time : women writers and the history of the fairy tale /
Elizabeth Wanning Harries.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2001.
description
xiv, 216 p. : ill.
ISBN
0691074445 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2001.
isbn
0691074445 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4585360
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Elizabeth Wanning Harries is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Smith College.
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Professor Harries is very conversant with most of the pertinent literature for her topic, and she is an original thinker who is not afraid to question conventional assumptions about the development of the fairy tale. Her book will be useful to readers inside and outside the main field of scholarship."-- Jack Zipes, University of Minnesota "A significant contribution to cultural studies in its splendid elaboration of the French fairy-tale tradition and in its effort to connect that tradition with works ranging from Christa Wolf's Patterns of Childhood to Anne Sexton's Transformations . Harries's work fills the gaps in our knowledge about the conteuses and seeks to understand why the stories that emerged from French literary salons failed to remain in the canon even as they established the generic conventions of literary fairy tales."-- Maria Tatar, Harvard University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-06-01:
To read Harries's study is to have that all too rare experience of recognizing that this book needed to be written and is full of truths. The vast fairy-tale literature of the last 30 years includes important titles by Jack Zipes, Maria Tatar, Bruno Bettelheim, Ruth Bottigheimer, Cristina Bacchilega, and Alison Lurie. What distinguishes this contribution is the author's willingness to go back to the beginning: Harries (Smith College) asks new questions about the role of women in France--the conteuses, who were among the first to write down the tales in the late 1600s. She finds there the origins of a female tradition in fairy tales and convincingly traces it to Great Britain and the present, demonstrating that understanding of fairy tales has heretofore been narrow and impoverished. Harries's reification of the women's tradition in fairy tales involves succinct and insightful intertextual readings of Madame d'Aulnoy and her successors (Angela Carter, Anne Sexton, Olga Broumas, Christa Wolf, Emma Donoghue), readings that confirm Harries's contention that women's telling of fairy tales involves greater complexity, embedded stories, elaborate frames, and "transliteration." Because Harries includes both the original French and German texts and translations, readers can arrive at independent judgments about her analysis. Excellent illustrations and bibliography. All collections. E. R. Baer Gustavus Adolphus College
Reviews
Review Quotes
"This is a highly readable work which engages with important questions in feminist literary criticism and fairy-tale research and offers a valuable and well-argued rereading of the history of the fairy tale."-- Karen Seago, Marvels and Tales
"To read Harries's study is to have that all too rare experience of recognizing that this book needed to be written and is full of truths."-- Choice
"In this elegant study the scholar Elizabeth Wanning Harries gives their due to the counteuses--the 17th century French ladies . . . who entertained their salons with witty, sophisticated fantasies about imaginary princes and princesses. . . . Harries suggests, with culture today fragmented into myriad products and market niches, fairy tales may be our only universal point of reference, the only cultural language we speak in common."-- Amanda Heller, The Boston Globe
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 2002
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
"Professor Harries is very conversant with most of the pertinent literature for her topic, and she is an original thinker who is not afraid to question conventional assumptions about the development of the fairy tale. Her book will be useful to readers inside and outside the main field of scholarship."--Jack Zipes, University of Minnesota "A significant contribution to cultural studies in its splendid elaboration of the French fairy-tale tradition and in its effort to connect that tradition with works ranging from Christa Wolf's "Patterns of Childhood" to Anne Sexton's "Transformations." Harries's work fills the gaps in our knowledge about the conteuses and seeks to understand why the stories that emerged from French literary salons failed to remain in the canon even as they established the generic conventions of literary fairy tales."--Maria Tatar, Harvard University
Bowker Data Service Summary
This text changes the way we look at fairy tales. It examines the tales told by the conteuses (story-telling women) in the 1690s and the late 20th-century tales by women writers that derive in part from this centuries-old tradition.
Main Description
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.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introduction: Once, Not Long Agop. 3
Fairy Tales about Fairy Tales: Notes on Canon Formationp. 19
Voices in Print: Oralities in the Fairy Talep. 46
The Invention of the Fairy Tale in Britainp. 73
Interlude: Once Againp. 99
New Frames for Old Talesp. 104
The Art of Transliterationp. 135
Conclusion: Twice-Told Talesp. 160
Notesp. 165
Bibliographyp. 193
Indexp. 211
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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