Happily Ever After: 17th Century Women and Marriage Reflected in Charles Perrault’s Fairy Tales (Bibliography)

Primary source: The Complete Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault

For my topic I am looking into Charles Perrault’s The Complete Fairy Tales–such as Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty–and looking at how women and marriage is perceived in them.

Cinderella, artwork by Edmund Dulac

     Galluccio, Marena. Class Notes in Professor Palmer’s Class. (2014).

     My personal notes I take from Professor Palmer’s Tuesday/Thursday class.

     Harries, Elizabeth W. “French Fairy Tales of the 1690s.”  College Literature, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Jun., 1996), pp. 100-115.

   This article discusses not only Charles Perrault and his fairy tales, but how women were story tellers and would pass down fairy tales in oral versions. It is important to understand that fairy tales are not solely about the author, but also with their interactions with the reader. By reading this it gives a different point of view of the fairy tales besides reading them from the author’s understanding as he is a man. It is important to look at his stories from all points of views including those who would be reading them to the audience, which, in this case, would be children.

     Montagu, Lady Mary Wortley. Selected Letters. 1st ed. England: Penguin, 1997.

   In Selected Letters, I focus specifically on Montagu’s section of the “Marriage Market”. As Montagu was going through the process of finding a husband not long after Perrault published his tales, it can be useful to see a woman’s perspective of marrying someone. Montagu talks of the levels of paradise when she speaks of marriage to her friends. She did not envision her love with her future husband as a “fairy tale” with a “Prince Charming.” However, her letters to Edward sometimes made it seem like she did envision somewhat of a “happily ever after.” By seeing how women of this era viewed marriage–even just by Montagu’s examples–it is useful to analyze the fairy tales from the female main character’s perspective. This can help us understand why decisions might be made to marry someone the characters barely know and have a lack of love for.

     Palmer, Jennifer. History 3323 Spring 2014 packet. Athens, Georgia: Bel Jean, 2014.

   The packet we have received for class consists of many short excerpts on subjects such as how to choose an ideal wife to marriage contracts. These are good primary and secondary sources as they give real examples of how people thought throughout Europe during the time Perrault would be writing his stories during the late 17th century. Articles I use include:

          –In “Advice on Choosing a Wife, Portugal, 1540,” the piece discusses how it is beneficial for a man to marry someone that they know of then someone they have never met before. The same goes for women who has a less chance of “being decieved.” I relate this to Cinderella as she is a daughter of a noble but succumbed to a work maiden status ends up marrying the prince.

          –In “Marriage Contract for a First Marriage, France, 1546,” this document explains a situation where a daughter is taking the opportunity to make arrangements for her own marriage when her father is living in another part of France. I tie this in in relation to Cinderella by means of her choosing and arranging her own marriage even if per biological parents are dead and residing with her step-mother and step-sisters.

          –“Modern History Sourcebook: Salon Life” From Letters of Julie de Lespinasse, Katherine P. Wormley, trans. (Boston: Hardy, Pratt and Co. 1903), p.9,. 34-35 helps to show what salons may discuss, such as Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

           –“Qualities of the Ideal Wife, England, 1617” discusses the ideals of a good wife. This was a popular genre of the time and I focus on what qualities women strive towards to be preferred as a candidate for a wife for a good-standing husband. I tie this into Cinderella.

     Perrault, Charles. The Complete Fairy Tales. 1st ed. New York, New York: Oxford, 2009.***

   The Complete Fairy Tales tells the stories of Cinderella to Sleeping Beauty to The History of Griselda. The book contains both fairy tales written in verse and in prose. There is also a short introduction and a history of Perrault. This is my primary source where I show Perrault’s stories and their ideas of women during the 17th century. I focus on multiple stories and what they reflect upon society of the time. For example, in Cinderella I focus on the concept of marriage, love, and ideal qualities of a wife.

    Wiesner-Hanks, Mary. Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe. 3rd ed. New York, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

     This helps to explain examples of women in society, what was expected of them, and how society perceived them during the Early Modern time period in Europe. This book helps to bring the information from the fairy tales and the packet together cohesively.

   Note: *** indicates primary source

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One thought on “Happily Ever After: 17th Century Women and Marriage Reflected in Charles Perrault’s Fairy Tales (Bibliography)

  1. Pingback: Happily Ever After: 17th Century Women and Marriage Reflected in Charles Perrault’s Fairy Tales (Paper) | Women in European History

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