Beauty and the Beast: A Tale for the Ages

This morning I’m writing a literary post here that focuses on my appreciation of the very old fairy tale, “Beauty and the Beast.” The lush new cinematic version has recently appeared and I’m sure theater-goers are rushing to see it. But I happened to know that the story can be traced back of Greek mythology and has made numerous appearances all over the world, including reprints of the original story in English (the best coming from the University of Pittsburgh), new versions of the story, and even an opera. In the next blog, I’ll be writing about some of those versions, and I hope my readers will be inspired to not only read the material contained in my links but also go to see the new Disney movie with a fuller appreciation of the tale.

Gabrielle Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve is credited with her original story published in 1740. It was included in book entitled La Jeune americaine, et les contes marins. The story is the length of a novel and written in the prevailing style of novels of that time. After she died, her story was rewritten by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont and published in 1756. Beaumont’s Magasin des enfants was intended to instruct young girls in moral lessons. Since she gave no credit to Villeneuve, it’s often assumed that Beaumont is the first author of the tale.

Let’s stop here for a treat for everyone who loves fairy tales. Click on this link and up will come the very famous English version from the University of Pittsburgh. Thank you UP for the tale and Wikipedia for the above information.

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Tomorrow I’ll continue with more about the tale and its later versions, including one of my favorites, the television series set in New York City featuring another Beast, this time named Vincent.


Beauty and the Beast: A Tale for the Ages — 2 Comments

  1. Very nice post, beautiful and well done. I have read the original story and enjoyed it.

  2. Thanks so much for your comment. I am always intrigued by stories like this and I believe the transformation of a human to animal is an old, old motif of folk tales.