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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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"Wolfgang’s edition and translation of Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s Beauty and the Beast stands out as an exemplary piece of scholarship that renders a great service not only to those scholars, teachers, and students interested in women writers but to the profession at large. Wolfgang’s translation perfectly captures the style, tone, and verve of the French, preserving the early modern flavor while remaining pleasurable and easy to read. It is one of the best English translations of an early modern text that I have encountered. . . . This is such a high-quality edition and translation of a woman’s text that it has the potential to inspire new research in early modern women’s writing and spark the interest of students and even the broader public. Wolfgang’s edition can change the way the twenty-first century public views the fairy tale genre as well as women’s position in literary history”.

Faith E. Beasley | Women's Writing

"Wolfgang’s translation and edition represent an invaluable resource for students at all levels—I plan to draw from the introduction and notes for undergraduate students in my general education fairy-tale course—as well as for scholars. The translation along with the critical apparati come together to immerse the reader within Villeneuve’s world, helping us make connections between Beauty’s cup of chocolate and transatlantic trade, between the Beast and earlier literary characters, and between Beauty herself and the heroine of the frame narrative on her way to marry a man she does not know in Saint-Domingue. The introduction and notes bring to the fore the ways in which questions of gender, race, class, and empire intertwine throughout Villeneuve’s version of Beauty and the Beast, shedding important light on the history of a canonical tale."

Anne E. Duggan | Marvels & Tales

"This volume offers a complete and clearly rendered translation accompanied by a suggestive critical apparatus. Much of the introduction places eighteenth-century author Villeneuve in the context of seventeenth-century literature, but Wolfgang’s presentation certainly makes possible future scholarly investigation into resonances between Villeneuve’s text and others of her time. . . . In the end, Wolfgang has achieved the fundamental goals of a translator and editor of early modern texts: she has made an old work available to new readers in a way that is sure to inspire more research on this text and its author."

Rori Bloom | Eighteenth-Century Fiction

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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