The Lost Princess - Women Writers and the History of Classic Fairy Tales - Anne E. Duggan

Reaktion Books

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The Lost Princess: Women Writers and the History of Classic Fairy Tales by Anne E. Duggan / ISBN 9781789147698 / 320-page hardback published by Reaktion Books (UK)

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Once upon a time: the forgotten female fabulists whose heroines flipped the fairy tale script.

People often associate fairy tales with Disney films and with the male authors from whom Disney often drew inspiration—notably Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen. In these portrayals, the princess is a passive, compliant figure. By contrast, The Lost Princess shows that classic fairy tales such as “Cinderella,” “Rapunzel,” and “Beauty and the Beast” have a much richer, more complex history than Disney’s saccharine depictions. Anne E. Duggan recovers the voices of women writers such as Marie-Catherine d’Aulnoy, Marie-Jeanne L’Héritier, and Charlotte-Rose de La Force, who penned popular tales about ogre-killing, pregnant, cross-dressing, dynamic heroines who saved the day. This new history will appeal to anyone who wants to know more about the lost, plucky heroines of historic fairy tales.

"Excavating history can lead to stunning discoveries, and Duggan brilliantly demonstrates how several talented and determined French women wrote tales that belong to our classical legacy without our realizing it. History, as Duggan indicates, speaks truth to power through these tales, but we must first learn how to untangle history to grasp what truth may mean. Duggan shows that these rebellious French women had, long before other European and North American writers, created dazzling stories that challenged male patriarchy." -- Jack Zipes, professor emeritus of German and comparative literature, University of Minnesota

"Duggan does not aim merely to supplement the narrative of males writers with a few women at the margins. Rather, she seeks to shift the mainstream. . . . [She] shows that we should regard the conteuses not as incidental curiosities, exhumed then quickly forgotten, but as princesses of literary history who were never really lost at all." ― Times Literary Supplement

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