Charles Perrault
Overview
 
Charles Perrault was a French author who laid the foundations for a new literary genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

, the fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales. The best known include Le Petit Chaperon rouge (Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood, also known as Little Red Cap, is a French fairy tale about a young girl and a Big Bad Wolf. The story has been changed considerably in its history and subject to numerous modern adaptations and readings....

), Cendrillon (Cinderella
Cinderella
"Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper" is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune...

), Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots
Puss in Boots
'Puss' is a character in the fairy tale "The Master Cat, or Puss in Boots" by Charles Perrault. The tale was published in 1697 in his Histoires ou Contes du temps passé...

) and La Barbe bleue (Bluebeard
Bluebeard
"Bluebeard" is a French literary folktale written by Charles Perrault and is one of eight tales by the author first published by Barbin in Paris in January 1697 in Histoires ou Contes du temps passé. The tale tells the story of a violent nobleman in the habit of murdering his wives and the...

). Perrault's stories continue to be printed and have been adapted to opera, ballet (like Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

's Sleeping Beauty), theatre, and film.
Perrault was born in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 to a wealthy bourgeois family, the seventh child of Pierre Perrault and Paquette Le Clerc.
Encyclopedia
Charles Perrault was a French author who laid the foundations for a new literary genre
Genre
Genre , Greek: genos, γένος) is the term for any category of literature or other forms of art or culture, e.g. music, and in general, any type of discourse, whether written or spoken, audial or visual, based on some set of stylistic criteria. Genres are formed by conventions that change over time...

, the fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

, with his works derived from pre-existing folk tales. The best known include Le Petit Chaperon rouge (Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood, also known as Little Red Cap, is a French fairy tale about a young girl and a Big Bad Wolf. The story has been changed considerably in its history and subject to numerous modern adaptations and readings....

), Cendrillon (Cinderella
Cinderella
"Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper" is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune...

), Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots
Puss in Boots
'Puss' is a character in the fairy tale "The Master Cat, or Puss in Boots" by Charles Perrault. The tale was published in 1697 in his Histoires ou Contes du temps passé...

) and La Barbe bleue (Bluebeard
Bluebeard
"Bluebeard" is a French literary folktale written by Charles Perrault and is one of eight tales by the author first published by Barbin in Paris in January 1697 in Histoires ou Contes du temps passé. The tale tells the story of a violent nobleman in the habit of murdering his wives and the...

). Perrault's stories continue to be printed and have been adapted to opera, ballet (like Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (Russian: Пётр Ильи́ч Чайко́вский ; often "Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky" in English. His names are also transliterated "Piotr" or "Petr"; "Ilitsch", "Il'ich" or "Illyich"; and "Tschaikowski", "Tschaikowsky", "Chajkovskij"...

's Sleeping Beauty), theatre, and film.

Biography

Perrault was born in Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 to a wealthy bourgeois family, the seventh child of Pierre Perrault and Paquette Le Clerc. He attended good schools and studied law before embarking on a career in government service, following in the footsteps of his father and older brother Jean. 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 a post as the principal tax collector of the city of Paris. When the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres
Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres
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.-History:...

 was founded in 1663, Perrault was appointed its secretary and served under Jean Baptiste Colbert, finance minister to King Louis XIV. Jean Chapelain
Jean Chapelain
Jean Chapelain was a French poet and writer.-Biography:Chapelain was born in Paris. His father wanted him to become a notary; but his mother, who had known Pierre de Ronsard, had decided otherwise...

, Amable de Bourzeys
Amable de Bourzeys
Amable de Bourzeis was a French churchman, writer, hellenist, and Academician.A founding member of the Académie française, in 1663 Jean-Baptiste Colbert also made ​​him one of the five founding members of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres....

, and Jacques Cassagne
Jacques Cassagne
Jacques Cassagne or Jacques de Cassaigne was a French clergyman, poet and moralist.-Life:A doctor of theology, he was 'garde' of the king's library and entered the Académie française aged 29...

 (the King's librarian) were also appointed. Using his influence as Colbert's administrative aide, he was able to get his brother, Claude Perrault
Claude Perrault
Claude Perrault is best known as the architect of the eastern range of the Louvre Palace in Paris , but he also achieved success as a physician and anatomist, and as an author, who wrote treatises on physics and natural history.Perrault was born and died in Paris...

, rendition of the severe east range of the Louvre
Louvre
The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement...

, built between 1665 and 1680, to be seen by Colbert. It was chosen over designs by Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini was an Italian artist who worked principally in Rome. He was the leading sculptor of his age and also a prominent architect...

 and François Mansart
François Mansart
François Mansart was a French architect credited with introducing classicism into Baroque architecture of France...

. One of the factors leading to this choice included the fear of high costs, for which other architects were infamous, and second was the personal antagonism between Louis XIV and Bernini.

He wrote La Peinture (Painting, 1668) to honor the king's first painter, Charles Le Brun
Charles Le Brun
Charles Le Brun , a French painter and art theorist, became the all-powerful, peerless master of 17th-century French art.-Biography:-Early life and training:...

. He also wrote Courses de testes 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
Louise de La Vallière
Louise de La Vallière was a mistress of Louis XIV of France from 1661 to 1667. She later became the Duchess of La Vallière and Duchess of Vaujours in her own right...

.
He married Marie Guichon, age 19, in 1672, who died in 1678 after giving birth to a daughter. The couple also had three sons, Charles-Samuel (1675-?), Charles (1676-?), and Pierre (1678-?). Marie died in October of 1678, only months after Pierre's baptism.

In 1669 Perrault advised Louis XIV to include thirty-nine fountains each representing one of the fables of Aesop
Aesop's Fables
Aesop's Fables or the Aesopica are a collection of fables credited to Aesop, a slave and story-teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece between 620 and 560 BCE. The fables remain a popular choice for moral education of children today...

 in the labyrinth of Versailles
The labyrinth of Versailles
The labyrinth of Versailles was a maze in the Gardens of Versailles with groups of fountains and sculptures depicting Aesop's fables. André Le Nôtre initially planned a maze of unadorned paths in 1665, but in 1669, Charles Perrault, advised Louis XIV to include thirty-nine fountains each...

 in the gardens of Versailles
Gardens of Versailles
The Gardens of Versailles occupy part of what was once the Domaine royal de Versailles, the royal demesne of the château of Versailles. Situated to the west of the palace, the gardens cover some 800 hectares of land, much of which is landscaped in the classic French Garden style perfected here by...

. 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
Isaac de Benserade
Isaac de Benserade was a French poet.Born in Lyons-la-Forêt in the Province of Normandy, his family appears to have been connected with Richelieu, who bestowed on him a pension of 600 livres. He began his literary career with the tragedy of Cléopâtre , which was followed by four other pieces...

 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
Philippe Quinault
Philippe Quinault , French dramatist and librettist, was born in Paris.- Biography :Quinault was educated by the liberality of François Tristan l'Hermite, the author of Marianne. Quinault's first play was produced at the Hôtel de Bourgogne in 1653, when he was only eighteen...

, who was a longtime family friend of the Perraults, was gaining a quick reputation as the librettist for the new musical genre known as opera
Opera
Opera is an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. Opera incorporates many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes and sometimes includes dance...

, collaborating with composer Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste Lully
Jean-Baptiste de Lully was an Italian-born French composer who spent most of his life working in the court of Louis XIV of France. He is considered the chief master of the French Baroque style. Lully disavowed any Italian influence in French music of the period. He became a French subject in...

. After Alceste
Alceste (Lully)
Alceste, ou Le triomphe d’Alcide is a tragédie en musique in a prologue and five acts by Jean-Baptiste Lully. The French-language libretto is by Philippe Quinault, after Euripides’ Alcestis...

(1674) was denounced by traditionalists who rejected it for deviating from classical theater. In response, Perrault wrote Critique de l'Opéra (1674) and in it he praised the merits of Alceste over the tragedy of the same name
Alcestis (play)
Alcestis is an Athenian tragedy by the ancient Greek playwright Euripides. It was first produced at the City Dionysia festival in 438 BCE. Euripides presented it as the final part of a tetralogy of unconnected plays in the competition of tragedies, for which he won second prize; this arrangement...

 by Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

. His treatise
Treatise
A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay, and more concerned with investigating or exposing the principles of the subject.-Noteworthy treatises:...

 was one of the first documents of the literary debate that was later to become known as the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns
Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns
The quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns was a literary and artistic debate that heated up in the early 1690s and shook the Académie française.-Description:...

.

Perrault was elected to the Académie française
Académie française
L'Académie française , also called the French Academy, is the pre-eminent French learned body on matters pertaining to the French language. The Académie was officially established in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu, the chief minister to King Louis XIII. Suppressed in 1793 during the French Revolution,...

 in 1671 and initiated the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns (Querelle des Anciens et des Modernes), which pitted supporters of the literature of Antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 (the "Ancients") against supporters of the literature from the century of Louis XIV
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

 (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
Homer
In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

 nods.

In 1682, Colbert gave his son, Jules-Armand, marquis d'Ormoy, the same tasks as Perrault and forced him into retirement at the age of fifty-six. Colbert would die the next year, and he stopped receiving the pension given to him as a writer. Colbert's successor, François-Michel Le Tellier, marquis de Louvoi, who was jealous of Colbert, quickly removed Perrault from his other appointments.

After this, in 1686, he decided to write epic poetry
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

 and show his genuine devotion to Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, and wrote Saint Paulin, évêque de Nôle (St. Paulinus, Bishop of Nola, about Paulinus of Nola
Paulinus of Nola
Saint Paulinus of Nola, also known as Pontificus Meropius Anicius Paulinus was a Roman senator who converted to a severe monasticism in 394...

). Just like Jean Chapelain
Jean Chapelain
Jean Chapelain was a French poet and writer.-Biography:Chapelain was born in Paris. His father wanted him to become a notary; but his mother, who had known Pierre de Ronsard, had decided otherwise...

's La Pucelle, ou la France délivrée, an epic poem about Joan of Arc, Perrault became a target of mockery from Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux
Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux was a French poet and critic.-Biography:Boileau was born in the rue de Jérusalem, in Paris, France. He was brought up to the law, but devoted to letters, associating himself with La Fontaine, Racine, and Molière...

.

Tales of Mother Goose

In 1695, when he was 67, he lost his post as secretary. He decided to dedicate himself to his children and published Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals
Histoires ou contes du temps passé
Histoires ou contes du temps passé subtitle: Les Contes de ma Mère l'Oye is a collection of eight literary fairy tales written by Charles Perrault and published by Barbin in Paris in January 1697...

(Histoires ou Contes du Temps passé) (1697), with the subtitle: Tales of Mother Goose (Les Contes de ma Mère l'Oie). Its publication made him suddenly widely-known beyond his own circles and marked the beginnings of a new literary genre, the fairy tale
Fairy tale
A fairy tale is a type of short story that typically features such folkloric characters, such as fairies, goblins, elves, trolls, dwarves, giants or gnomes, and usually magic or enchantments. However, only a small number of the stories refer to fairies...

, with many of the most well-known tales, such as Cinderella
Cinderella
"Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper" is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune...

 and Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood, also known as Little Red Cap, is a French fairy tale about a young girl and a Big Bad Wolf. The story has been changed considerably in its history and subject to numerous modern adaptations and readings....

. He had actually published it 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 Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty
Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault or Little Briar Rose by the Brothers Grimm is a classic fairytale involving a beautiful princess, enchantment, and a handsome prince...

and in Puss in Boots
Puss in Boots
'Puss' is a character in the fairy tale "The Master Cat, or Puss in Boots" by Charles Perrault. The tale was published in 1697 in his Histoires ou Contes du temps passé...

, the Marquis of the Château d'Oiron, and contrasted his folktale subject matter, with details and 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
Gabriele Faerno
Gabriele Faerno, also known by his Latin name of Faernus Cremonensis, was born in Cremona about 1510 and died in Rome on November 17, 1561. He was a scrupulous scholar and an elegant Latin poet who is best known now for his collection of Aesop's Fables in Latin verse.-Life:Gabriele Faerno was born...

 into French verse in 1699. Charles Perrault died in Paris in 1703 at age 75.

See also

  • Marie-Jeanne Lhéritier
    Marie-Jeanne Lhéritier
    Marie-Jeanne Lhéritier was an aristocratic French writer of the late 17th century, and a niece of Charles Perrault....

     Charles Perrault's niece
  • Madame d'Aulnoy
    Madame d'Aulnoy
    Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Baroness d'Aulnoy , also known as Countess d'Aulnoy, was a French writer known for her fairy tales...

  • The Brothers Grimm
    Brothers Grimm
    The Brothers Grimm , Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm , were German academics, linguists, cultural researchers, and authors who collected folklore and published several collections of it as Grimm's Fairy Tales, which became very popular...

     retold their own versions of some of Perrault's fairy tales.
  • Hans Christian Andersen
    Hans Christian Andersen
    Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author, fairy tale writer, and poet noted for his children's stories. These include "The Steadfast Tin Soldier," "The Snow Queen," "The Little Mermaid," "Thumbelina," "The Little Match Girl," and "The Ugly Duckling."...

     who continued the fairytale genre in the 19th century

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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