Twice upon a Time: Women Writers and the History of the Fairy Tale

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9780691115672: Twice upon a Time: Women Writers and the History of the Fairy Tale

Fairy tales, often said to be ''timeless'' and fundamentally ''oral,'' have a long written history. However, argues Elizabeth Wanning Harries in this provocative book, a vital part of this history has fallen by the wayside. The short, subtly didactic fairy tales of Charles Perrault and the Grimms have determined our notions about what fairy tales should be like. Harries argues that alongside these ''compact'' tales there exists another, ''complex'' tradition: tales written in France by the conteuses (storytelling women) in the 1690s and the late-twentieth-century tales by women writers that derive in part from this centuries-old tradition.


Grounded firmly in social history and set in lucid prose, Twice upon a Time refocuses the lens through which we look at fairy tales. The conteuses saw their tales as amusements for sophisticated adults in the salon, not for children. Self-referential, frequently parodic, and set in elaborate frames, their works often criticize the social expectations that determined the lives of women at the court of Louis XIV.


After examining the evolution of the ''Anglo-American'' fairy tale and its place in this variegated history, Harries devotes the rest of her book to recent women writers--A. S. Byatt, Anne Sexton, Angela Carter, and Emma Donoghue among them--who have returned to fairy-tale motifs so as to challenge modern-day gender expectations. Late-twentieth-century tales, like the conteuses', force us to rethink our conception of fairy tales and of their history.

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"Professor Harries is very conversant with most of the pertinent literature for her topic, and she is an original thinker who is not afraid to question conventional assumptions about the development of the fairy tale. Her book will be useful to readers inside and outside the main field of scholarship."--Jack Zipes, University of Minnesota

"A significant contribution to cultural studies in its splendid elaboration of the French fairy-tale tradition and in its effort to connect that tradition with works ranging from Christa Wolf's Patterns of Childhood to Anne Sexton's Transformations. Harries's work fills the gaps in our knowledge about the conteuses and seeks to understand why the stories that emerged from French literary salons failed to remain in the canon even as they established the generic conventions of literary fairy tales."--Maria Tatar, Harvard University

From the Inside Flap:

A significant contribution to cultural studies in its splendid elaboration of the French fairy-tale tradition and in its effort to connect that tradition with works ranging from Christa Wolf's Patterns of Childhood to Anne Sexton's Transformations. Harries's work fills the gaps in our knowledge about the conteuses and seeks to understand why the stories that emerged from French literary salons failed to remain in the canon even as they established the generic conventions of literary fairy tales.

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Elizabeth Wanning Harries
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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Fairy tales, often said to be timeless and fundamentally oral, have a long written history. However, argues Elizabeth Wanning Harries in this provocative book, a vital part of this history has fallen by the wayside. The short, subtly didactic fairy tales of Charles Perrault and the Grimms have determined our notions about what fairy tales should be like. Harries argues that alongside these compact tales there exists another, complex tradition: tales written in France by the conteuses (storytelling women) in the 1690s and the late-twentieth-century tales by women writers that derive in part from this centuries-old tradition. Grounded firmly in social history and set in lucid prose, Twice upon a Time refocuses the lens through which we look at fairy tales. The conteuses saw their tales as amusements for sophisticated adults in the salon, not for children. Self-referential, frequently parodic, and set in elaborate frames, their works often criticize the social expectations that determined the lives of women at the court of Louis XIV. After examining the evolution of the Anglo-American fairy tale and its place in this variegated history, Harries devotes the rest of her book to recent women writers--A. S. Byatt, Anne Sexton, Angela Carter, and Emma Donoghue among them--who have returned to fairy-tale motifs so as to challenge modern-day gender expectations. Late-twentieth-century tales, like the conteuses , force us to rethink our conception of fairy tales and of their history. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780691115672

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . Brand New Book. Fairy tales, often said to be timeless and fundamentally oral, have a long written history. However, argues Elizabeth Wanning Harries in this provocative book, a vital part of this history has fallen by the wayside. The short, subtly didactic fairy tales of Charles Perrault and the Grimms have determined our notions about what fairy tales should be like. Harries argues that alongside these compact tales there exists another, complex tradition: tales written in France by the conteuses (storytelling women) in the 1690s and the late-twentieth-century tales by women writers that derive in part from this centuries-old tradition. Grounded firmly in social history and set in lucid prose, Twice upon a Time refocuses the lens through which we look at fairy tales. The conteuses saw their tales as amusements for sophisticated adults in the salon, not for children. Self-referential, frequently parodic, and set in elaborate frames, their works often criticize the social expectations that determined the lives of women at the court of Louis XIV. After examining the evolution of the Anglo-American fairy tale and its place in this variegated history, Harries devotes the rest of her book to recent women writers--A. S. Byatt, Anne Sexton, Angela Carter, and Emma Donoghue among them--who have returned to fairy-tale motifs so as to challenge modern-day gender expectations. Late-twentieth-century tales, like the conteuses , force us to rethink our conception of fairy tales and of their history. Bookseller Inventory # AAH9780691115672

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Book Description Princeton University Press 9/22/2003, 2003. Paperback or Softback. Book Condition: New. Twice Upon a Time: Women Writers and the History of the Fairy Tale. Book. Bookseller Inventory # BBS-9780691115672

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Book Description Princeton University Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Revised ed.. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Fairy tales, often said to be timeless and fundamentally oral, have a long written history. However, argues Elizabeth Wanning Harries in this provocative book, a vital part of this history has fallen by the wayside. The short, subtly didactic fairy tales of Charles Perrault and the Grimms have determined our notions about what fairy tales should be like. Harries argues that alongside these compact tales there exists another, complex tradition: tales written in France by the conteuses (storytelling women) in the 1690s and the late-twentieth-century tales by women writers that derive in part from this centuries-old tradition. Grounded firmly in social history and set in lucid prose, Twice upon a Time refocuses the lens through which we look at fairy tales. The conteuses saw their tales as amusements for sophisticated adults in the salon, not for children. Self-referential, frequently parodic, and set in elaborate frames, their works often criticize the social expectations that determined the lives of women at the court of Louis XIV. After examining the evolution of the Anglo-American fairy tale and its place in this variegated history, Harries devotes the rest of her book to recent women writers--A. S. Byatt, Anne Sexton, Angela Carter, and Emma Donoghue among them--who have returned to fairy-tale motifs so as to challenge modern-day gender expectations. Late-twentieth-century tales, like the conteuses , force us to rethink our conception of fairy tales and of their history. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780691115672

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