Fairy Tales, Sexuality, and Gender in France, 1690-1715

Fairy Tales, Sexuality, and Gender in France, 1690-1715 : Nostalgic Utopias

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Between 1690 and 1715, well over one hundred literary fairy tales appeared in France, two-thirds of them written by women. This 1996 book explores why fashionable adults were attracted to this new literary genre and, integrating socio-historical, structuralist, and post-structuralist approaches, considers how it became a medium for reconceiving literary and historical discourses of sexuality and gender. The first part of the book considers how the marvellous is used to legitimize the genre, to exemplify theories of 'modern' culture, and to reaffirm women's potential as writers. The second part examines how specific groups of tales both reiterate and unsettle late seventeenth-century discourses of love, masculinity and femininity through conventions such as the romantic quest, the marriage closure, chivalric heroes and good and evil fairies.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 292 pages
  • 139 x 216 x 16mm | 383g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises
  • 052102627X
  • 9780521026277
  • 2,657,449

Table of contents

Acknowledgments; Introduction; Part I. Marvelous Storytelling: 1. Marvelous realities: toward an understanding of the merveilleux; 2. Reading (and) the ironies of the marvelous; 3. The marvelous in context: the place of the contes de fees in late seventeenth-century France; Part II. Marvelous Desires: 4. Quests for love: visions of sexuality; 5. (De)mystifications of masculinity: fictios of transcendence; 6. Imagining femininity: binarity and beyond; Afterword; Notes, Selected bibliography; Index.
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Review quote

"This is in many ways an outstanding scholarly achievement." Marvels & Tales: Journal of Fairy-Tale Studies, Vol. 11,Nos. 1-2 "This impressive study provides great insight into not only the Marvellous and the conte de fees, but also issues of sexuality and gender under the ancien regime and at times of cultural transition and unease in general. It is a compelling tale, well told." Mererid Puw Davies, Eighteenth Century Fiction "Seifert provides us with a solid and learned study of French fairy tale in its beginnings. He has much to tell us, and he shows us that we have much to learn." Modern Philology
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