Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Contes de Perrault

book illustration by perrault

book illustration by perrault

It is somewhat ironic that the well educated lawyer Charles Perrault (1628-1703), who helped establish the French Academy of Science and whose writing in support of literary modernists was an antecedent to the Age of Enlightenment, is best remembered for popularizing the fairy tale genre. The new Age was not particularly partial to fantasy stories.

In 1697 he released a short book of 8 stories which were adapted from well known plots from the oral folk tradition. The original title was: Histoires ou Contes du Temps Passé, avec des Moralités: Contes de ma Mère l'Oye ('Fabled or Moral Stories from Times Past: Tales of Mother Goose' {my rendering}) and Perrault coyly published it under his son's name. Stories such as Puss in Boots, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty are obviously still universally known from both book and film versions.

The lush art nouveau illustrations above by Félix Lorioux were released in a 1927 publication -- Contes de Perrault -- in which the text of 3 stories is greatly overshadowed by the artwork.

Large format images of ~30 illustrations are online at Universitätsbibliothek Braunschweig (table of contents).


xenmate said...

oh my! these are incredibly beautiful!

Brown Shoes said...

thanks so much for
putting the effort into making it easy for me to see these here.


peacay said...

Thanks all!

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