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Twice Upon a Time: Women Writers and the History of the Fairy Tale; Princeton

Harries, Elizabeth Wanning

27 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0691074445 / ISBN 13: 9780691074443
Published by Princeton University, 2001
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From McBlain Books, ABAA (Hamden, CT, U.S.A.)

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dj. 24cm. INSCRIBED by Harries. From the library of Professor Thomas M. Greene. Bookseller Inventory # 77558

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Twice Upon a Time: Women Writers and the ...

Publisher: Princeton University

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

About this title

Synopsis:

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.

From the Inside Flap:

"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

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