Portrait (detail) by Philippe Lallemand, 1672
|Born||12 January 1628|
|Died||16 May 1703 75) (aged|
|Notable works||"The Sleeping Beauty"|
"Little Red Riding Hood"
"Puss in Boots"
Charles Perrault ( // perr-OH, also US: // pə-ROH, French: [ʃaʁl pɛʁo] ; 12 January 1628 – 16 May 1703) was a French author and member of the Académie Française. He laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale, with his works derived from earlier folk tales, published in his 1697 book Histoires ou contes du temps passé . The best known of his tales include Le Petit Chaperon Rouge ( Little Red Riding Hood ), Cendrillon ( Cinderella ), Le Chat Botté ( Puss in Boots ), La Belle au bois Dormant ( The Sleeping Beauty ) and Barbe Bleue ( Bluebeard ).
Some of Perrault's versions of old stories influenced the German versions published by the Brothers Grimm more than 100 years later. The stories continue to be printed and have been adapted to opera, ballet, theatre, and film. Perrault was an influential figure in the 17th-century French literary scene, and was the leader of the Modern faction during the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns.
Perrault was born in Paris to a wealthy bourgeois family, the seventh child of Pierre Perrault and Paquette Le Clerc. He attended very good schools and studied law before embarking on a career in government service, following in the footsteps of his father and elder brother Jean.[ citation needed ]
He took part in the creation of the Academy of Sciences as well as the restoration of the Academy of Painting. In 1654, he moved in with his brother Pierre, who had purchased the position of chief tax collector of the city of Paris. When the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres was founded in 1663, Perrault was appointed its secretary and served under Jean Baptiste Colbert, finance minister to King Louis XIV. [ citation needed ]Jean Chapelain, Amable de Bourzeys, and Jacques Cassagne (the King's librarian) were also appointed.
Using his influence as Colbert's administrative aide, in April 1667 he was able to get his brother, Claude Perrault, appointed to a committee of three, the Petit Conseil, also including Louis Le Vau and Charles Le Brun, who designed the new section of the Louvre, the Colonnade, built between 1667 and 1674, to be overseen by Colbert.The design was chosen over designs by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (with whom, as Perrault recounts in his Memoirs, he had stormy relations while the Italian artist was in residence at Louis's court in 1665) and François Mansart. One of the factors leading to this choice included the fear of high costs, and second was the personal antagonism between Bernini and leading members of Louis' court, including Colbert and Perrault; King Louis himself maintained a public air of benevolence towards Bernini, ordering the issuing of a royal bronze portrait medal in honor of the artist in 1674. As Perrault further describes in his Memoirs, however, the king harbored private resentment at Bernini's displays of arrogance. The king was so displeased with Bernini's equestrian statue of him that he ordered it to be destroyed; however, his courtiers prevailed upon him to have it redone instead, with a head depicting the Roman hero Marcus Curtius.
In 1668, Perrault wrote La Peinture (Painting) to honor the king's first painter, Charles Le Brun. He also wrote Courses de tetes et de bague (Head and Ring Races, 1670), written to commemorate the 1662 celebrations staged by Louis for his mistress, Louise-Françoise de La Baume le Blanc, duchesse de La Vallière.[ citation needed ]
Perrault was elected to the Académie française in 1671.[ citation needed ]
He married Marie Guichon, age 19, in 1672; she died in 1678.[ citation needed ]
In 1669 Perrault advised Louis XIV to include thirty-nine fountains each representing one of the fables of Aesop in the labyrinth of Versailles in the gardens of Versailles. The work was carried out between 1672 and 1677. Water jets spurting from the animals' mouths were conceived to give the impression of speech between the creatures. There was a plaque with a caption and a quatrain written by the poet Isaac de Benserade next to each fountain. Perrault produced the guidebook for the labyrinth, Labyrinte de Versailles, printed at the royal press, Paris, in 1677, and illustrated by Sebastien le Clerc.
Philippe Quinault, a longtime family friend of the Perraults, quickly gained a reputation as the librettist for the new musical genre known as opera, collaborating with composer Jean-Baptiste Lully. After Alceste (1674) was denounced by traditionalists who rejected it for deviating from classical theater, Perrault wrote in response Critique de l'Opéra (1674) in which he praised the merits of Alceste over the tragedy of the same name by Euripides. [ citation needed ]
This treatise on Alceste initiated the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns (Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes), which pitted supporters of the literature of Antiquity (the "Ancients") against supporters of the literature from the century of Louis XIV (the "Moderns"). He was on the side of the Moderns and wrote Le Siècle de Louis le Grand (The Century of Louis the Great, 1687) and Parallèle des Anciens et des Modernes (Parallel between Ancients and Moderns, 1688–1692) where he attempted to prove the superiority of the literature of his century. Le Siècle de Louis le Grand was written in celebration of Louis XIV's recovery from a life-threatening operation. Perrault argued that because of Louis's enlightened rule, the present age was superior in every respect to ancient times. He also claimed that even modern French literature was superior to the works of antiquity, and that, after all, even Homer nods.[ citation needed ]
In 1682, Colbert forced Perrault into retirement at the age of 56, assigning his tasks to his own son, Jules-Armand, marquis d'Ormoy. Colbert would die the next year, and Perrault stopped receiving the pension given to him as a writer. Colbert's bitter rival succeeded him, François-Michel le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois, and quickly removed Perrault from his other appointments.[ citation needed ]
After this, in 1686, Perrault decided to write epic poetry and show his genuine devotion to Christianity, writing Saint Paulin, évêque de Nôle (St. Paulinus, Bishop of Nola, about Paulinus of Nola). Just like Jean Chapelain's La Pucelle, ou la France délivrée, an epic poem about Joan of Arc, Perrault became a target of mockery from Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux.[ citation needed ]
Charles Perrault died in Paris in 1703 at the age of 75.[ citation needed ] On 12 January 2016 Google honoured him with a doodle by artist Sophie Diao depicting characters from the Tales of Mother Goose (Histoires ou contes du temps passé).
In 1695, when he was 67, Perrault lost his position as secretary and decided to dedicate himself to his children. In 1697 he published Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals (Histoires ou Contes du Temps passé), subtitled Tales of Mother Goose (Les Contes de ma Mère l'Oye). (The spelling of the name is with "y" although modern French uses only an "i".) This "Mother Goose" has never been identified as a person, but used to refer to popular and rural storytelling traditions in proverbial phrases of the time. (Source : Dictionnaire de l'Académie, 1694, quoted by Nathalie Froloff in her edition of the Tales (Gallimard, Folio, Paris, 1999.- p. 10). ) These tales, based on French popular tradition, were very popular in sophisticated court circles. Its publication made him suddenly very widely known and he is often credited as the founder of the modern fairy tale genre. Naturally, his work reflects awareness of earlier fairy tales written in the salons, most notably by Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Baroness d'Aulnoy, who coined the phrase "fairy tale" and wrote tales as early as 1690.
Some of his popular stories, particularly Cinderellaand The Sleeping Beauty, are still commonly told similar to the way Perrault had written them, while others have been revised over the years. For example, some versions of Sleeping Beauty published today are based partially on a Brothers Grimm tale, "Little Briar Rose“, a modified version of the Perrault story, but the Disney version is true to the original Perrault tale.
Perrault had written Little Red Riding Hood as a warning to readers about men preying on young girls walking through the forest. He concludes his fairy tale with a moral, cautioning women and young girls about the dangers of trusting men. He states, "Watch out if you haven’t learned that tame wolves/ Are the most dangerous of all".Perrault warns the readers about the manipulation and false appearances some men portray: "I say Wolf, for all wolves are not of the same sort; there is one kind with an amenable disposition – neither noisy, nor hateful, nor angry, but tame, obliging and gentle, following the young maids in the streets, even into their homes. Alas! Who does not know that these gentle wolves are of all such creatures the most dangerous!" Indeed, the girl gets into bed with the wolf and is devoured. There is no happy ending as in most current versions of the story.
He had actually published his collection under the name of his last son (born in 1678), Pierre (Perrault) Darmancourt ("Armancourt" being the name of a property he bought for him), probably fearful of criticism from the "Ancients".In the tales, he used images from around him, such as the Chateau Ussé for The Sleeping Beauty , and the Marquis of the Château d'Oiron as the model for the Marquis de Carabas in Puss in Boots . He ornamented his folktale subject matter with details, asides and subtext drawn from the world of fashion. Following up on these tales, he translated the Fabulae Centum (100 Fables) of the Latin poet Gabriele Faerno into French verse in 1699.
Philippe Quinault, French dramatist and librettist, was born in Paris.
Fantastique is a French term for a literary and cinematic genre that overlaps with science fiction, horror, and fantasy.
The Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres is a French learned society devoted to the humanities, founded in February 1663 as one of the five academies of the Institut de France.
Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve was a French author influenced by Madame d'Aulnoy, Charles Perrault, and various précieuse writers. Villeneuve is particularly noted for her 1740 original story of La Belle et la Bête, which is the oldest known variant of the fairy tale Beauty and the Beast.
Ma mère l'Oye is a suite by French composer Maurice Ravel. The piece was originally written as a five-movement piano duet in 1910. In 1911, Ravel orchestrated the work.
The quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns began overtly as a literary and artistic debate that heated up in the early 17th century and shook the Académie française.
Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Baroness d'Aulnoy, also known as Countess d'Aulnoy, was a French writer known for her fairy tales. When she termed her works contes de fées, she originated the term that is now generally used for the genre.
The French literary style called préciosité arose in the 17th century from the lively conversations and playful word games of les précieuses, the intellectual, witty and educated women who frequented the salon of Catherine de Vivonne, marquise de Rambouillet. Her Chambre bleue offered a Parisian refuge from the dangerous political factionalism and coarse manners of the royal court during the regency of Louis XIV.
Henriette-Julie de Murat was an aristocratic French writer of the late 17th century.
Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force or Mademoiselle de La Force (1654–1724) was a French novelist and poet. Her best-known work was her 1698 fairy tale Persinette which was adapted by the Brothers Grimm in 1812 as the story Rapunzel.
The Story of Pretty Goldilocks or The Beauty with Golden Hair is a French literary fairy tale written by Madame d'Aulnoy. Andrew Lang included it in The Blue Fairy Book.
French folklore encompasses the fables, folklore and fairy tales and legends of the French people.
Marie-Jeanne L'Héritier de Villandon was an aristocratic French writer and salonnière of the late 17th century, and a niece of Charles Perrault.
The Louvre Colonnade is the easternmost façade of the Palais du Louvre in Paris. It has been celebrated as the foremost masterpiece of French Architectural Classicism since its construction, mostly between 1667 and 1674. The design, dominated by two loggias with trabeated colonnades of coupled giant columns, was created by a committee of three, the Petit Conseil, consisting of Louis Le Vau, Charles Le Brun, and Claude Perrault. Louis Le Vau's brother, François Le Vau also contributed. Cast in a restrained classicizing baroque manner, it interprets rules laid down by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius, whose works Perrault translated into French (1673).
"Master Cat, or The Booted Cat", commonly known in English as "Puss in Boots", is an Italian and later European literary fairy tale about an anthropomorphic cat who uses trickery and deceit to gain power, wealth, and the hand of a princess in marriage for his penniless and low-born master.
Histoires ou contes du temps passé, avec des moralités or Contes de ma mère l'Oye is a collection of literary fairy tales written by Charles Perrault, published in Paris in 1697. The work became popular because it was written at a time when fairy tales were fashionable amongst aristocrats in Parisian literary salons. Perrault wrote the work when he retired from court as secretary to Jean-Baptiste Colbert, minister to Louis XIV of France. Colbert's death may have forced Perrault's retirement, at which point he turned to writing. Scholars have debated as to the origin of his tales and whether they are original literary fairy tales modified from commonly known stories, or based on stories written by earlier medieval writers such as Boccaccio.
Catherine Bernard was a French poet, playwright, and novelist. She composed three historical novels, two verse tragedies, several poems, and was awarded several poetry prizes by the Académie française. Bernard established the fundamental aesthetic principle of the French literary conte de fées popular in the salons of the late seventeenth century with the dictum: "the [adventures] should always be implausible and the emotions always natural". Her works are appreciated today for their psychological nuance.
The Bust of Louis XIV is a marble portrait by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini. It was created in the year 1665 during Bernini's visit to Paris. This sculptural portrait of Louis XIV of France has been called the "grandest piece of portraiture of the baroque age". The bust is on display at the Versailles Palace, in the Salon de Diane in the King's Grand Apartment.
The Equestrian Statue of King Louis XIV is a sculpture designed and partially executed by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who was originally brought to France to design a new facade of the Louvre, a portrait bust, and an equestrian statue. Bernini first discussed the project while in France in the mid-1660s, but it did not start until later in the decade, when back in Rome. It was not completed until 1684, and then shipped to Paris in 1685. Louis XIV of France was extremely unhappy with the end result and had it placed in a corner of the gardens of the royal palace at Versailles. Soon after, the sculpture was modified by François Girardon and altered into an equestrian sculpture of the ancient Roman hero Marcus Curtius.
Charles Deulin (1827–77) was a French writer, theatre critic, and folklorist who is most known for his contemporary adaptations of European folk tales. Among his many stories are "Cambrinus, King of Beer", "The Twelve Dancing Princesses", "The Enchanted Canary", and "The Nettle Spinner'.
The stories...might have been old, but what he did with them was new.
The famous fairy tale of Cinderella is best known from the film made by Walt Disney in 1950, which in turn is based on the story penned by Charles Perrault.
And, saying these words, this wicked wolf fell upon Little Red Riding Hood, and ate her all up.
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