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Distributed for Iter Press

Beauty and the Beast

The Original Story

Edited and Translated by Aurora Wolfgang

Distributed for Iter Press

Beauty and the Beast

The Original Story

Edited and Translated by Aurora Wolfgang
Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, the little-known author of Beauty and the Beast, was a successful novelist and fairytale writer in mid eighteenth-century France. While her novels are rarely read today, her compelling fairytale has become universally recognized. This edition is the first integral English translation of Villeneuve’s original tale. The introduction seeks to illuminate the publication of Beauty and the Beast in its historical and literary context, and brings to life the dynamic female characters that first populated this enchanting tale: the courageous Beauty, the Fairy Queen, the Amazon Queen, the Lady Fairy, and the powerful, but mischievous elderly fairy.

The Other Voice in Early Modern Europe: The Toronto Series volume 74

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"Aurora Wolfgang presents Anglophone readers with the opportunity to examine the original version of the (now) popularized tale of Beauty and the Beast, published in 1740 by an important but little understood woman writer of eighteenth-century France, Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. Wolfgang’s volume includes unique content never translated before: the tale’s original frame, dedication, preface, and, perhaps most intriguingly, the insertion of erotic passages taken out by most of the previous translations and editions. It offers in addition a biographical account of Villeneuve, and a historical overview of the fairy tale as a genre developed largely by women writers of seventeenth-century France."

Marianne Legault, University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xvii
Introduction 1
La Belle et la Bête and “The Other Voice” 1
Life and Works of Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve 2
The Literary Fairy Tale and Women Writers 20
A Young Woman’s Coming-of-Age in Eighteenth-Century France 29
Sex and Violence 30
Tenderness 32
Desire 33
The Wedding Night 36
Powerful Women: Fairies, Queens, and Amazons 38
Beauty: The Heroic and Worldly Woman 41
The Fairy as Author 43
Fairy Helpers 45
Fairies Behaving Badly 48
Weak Men: The Beast, the Merchant, and the King 51
Two Meanings of the Beast: The Monstrosity of Body and Mind 54
Exotic Destinations and Marvelous Lands 56
The La Rochelle-Saint-Domingue Connection 58
Fortunes Lost and Fortunes Gained 61
“Everything exudes joy and magnificence” 63
The Invisible Labor of Magnificence 64
The Afterlife of La Belle et la Bête 68
Note on the Translation 71
The Young American Girl and Tales at Sea by Madame de *** 73
Dedication to Madame Feydeau de Marville 75
Preface 76
Sailing to the New World 77
Story of the Beauty and the Beast 89
Story of the Beast 138
Story of the Lady Fairy 151
Bibliography 173
Index 183

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