Fairy Tales for the Disillusioned

Fairy Tales for the Disillusioned : Enchanted Stories from the French Decadent Tradition

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The wolf is tricked by Red Riding Hood into strangling her grandmother and is subsequently arrested. Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella do not live happily ever after. And the fairies are saucy, angry, and capricious. Fairy Tales for the Disillusioned collects thirty-six tales, many newly translated, by writers associated with the decadent literary movement, which flourished in France in the late nineteenth century. Written by such creative luminaries as Charles Baudelaire, Anatole France, and Guillaume Apollinaire, these enchanting yet troubling stories reflect the concerns and fascinations of a time of great political, social, and cultural change. Recasting well-known favorites from classic French fairy tales, as well as Arthurian legends and English and German tales, the updated interpretations in this collection allow for more perverse settings and disillusioned perspectives--a trademark style and ethos of the decadent tradition. In these stories, characters puncture the optimism of the naive, talismans don't work, and the most deserving don't always get the best rewards. The fairies are commonly victims of modern cynicism and technological advancement, but just as often are dangerous creatures corrupted by contemporary society. The collection underlines such decadent themes as the decline of civilization, the degeneration of magic and the unreal, gender confusion, and the incursion of the industrial. The volume editors provide an informative introduction, biographical notes for each author, and explanatory notes throughout. Subverting the conventions of the traditional fairy tale, these old tales made new will entertain and startle even the most disenchanted readers.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 296 pages
  • 140 x 203 x 25mm | 428g
  • Princeton University Press
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • 14 b&w illus.
  • 0691161658
  • 9780691161655
  • 76,824

Table of contents

List of Illustrations xi Translators' Note and Acknowledgments xiii Introduction xvii TALES Charles Baudelaire Fairies' Gifts 3 Alphonse Daudet The Fairies of France 6 Catulle Mendes Dreaming Beauty 11 Isolina / Isolin 17 The Way to Heaven 22 An Unsuitable Guest 27 The Three Good Fairies 31 The Last Fairy 36 The Lucky Find 41 The Wish Granted, Alas! 45 Jules Lemaitre The Suitors of Princess Mimi 48 Liette's Notions 60 On the Margins of Perrault's Fairy Tales: The White Rabbit and the Four-Leaf Clover 68 Paul Arene The Ogresses 72 Jules Ricard Fairy Morgane's Tales: Nocturne II 77 Marcel Schwob Bluebeard's Little Wife 84 The Green She-Devil 88 Cice 92 Mandosiane 95 Willy Fairy Tales for the Disillusioned 101 Henri de Regnier The Living Door Knocker 108 Rachilde The Mortis 115 Jacques d'Adelsward-Fersen Sleeping Beauty Didn't Wake Up 128 Jean Lorrain Princess of the Red Lilies 137 Princess Snowflower 142 Mandosiane in Captivity 148 Renee Vivien Prince Charming 152 Albert Mockel The Story of the Prince of Valandeuse 157 The Pleasant Surprise 165 Pierre Veber The Last Fairy 173 Anatole France The Seven Wives of Bluebeard 183 The Story of the Duchess of Cicogne and of Monsieur de Boulingrin 210 Emile Bergerat The 28-Kilometer Boots 226 Cinderella Arrives by Automobile 233 Guillaume Apollinaire Cinderella Continued, or the Rat and the Six Lizards 238 Claude Cahun Cinderella, the Humble and Haughty Child 243 Bibliography 247 Biographical Notes 251show more

Review quote

"[F]un and intriguing ... [E]xcellent windows into a period in history, especially in France, when politics and world strife ... made it hard to embrace the [happily ever after] of the popular fairy tales."--Heidi Anne Heiner, SurLaLune Fairy Tales "[S]ometimes sardonic, sometimes brutal, often blackly funny and possessed of a peculiarly modern sensibility."--Cameron Woodhead, Sydney Morning Herald "It's easy to see why Fairy Tales For the Disillusioned is capturing rave reviews. Our cultural climate is ripe for such a round of stories and, as the series from which it appears states, these are, indeed Oddly Modern Fairy Tales."--Once Upon a Blog "In these deliberately tarnished tales ... wondrousness mainly shines through in their often beautiful imagery."--Michael Dirda, Washington Postshow more

About Gretchen Schultz

Gretchen Schultz is professor of French studies at Brown University. Her recent books include Sapphic Fathers: Discourses of Same-Sex Desire from Nineteenth-Century France and An Anthology of Nineteenth-Century Women's Poetry from France. Lewis Seifert is professor of French studies at Brown University. He is the author of Fairy Tales, Sexuality, and Gender in France, 1690-1715 and Manning the Margins: Masculinity and Writing in Seventeenth-Century France.show more

Review Text

"Fairy Tales for the Disillusioned brings together fairy tales by canonical and noncanonical nineteenth-century French authors. Many of these works have not been anthologized for an English audience - nor a French one - and these translated texts provide a complex view not only of the decadent tale but also of the possibilities of the fairy tale in general."--Anne E. Duggan, author of Queer Enchantmentsshow more