Happy Birthday, Charles Perrault!

In case you didn’t already know, today is the 388th birthday of French writer Charles Perrault, Father of the Fairy Tale. (Now commemorated with a Google Doodle!)

A few facts on the fantastical Monsieur Perrault…

  • He was born and died in Paris, France, January 12, 1628 – May 16, 1703.
  • “While the Brothers Grimm are widely credited with creating the fairy tale as we know it, Perrault actually wrote Le Petit Chaperon rouge, La Belle au bois dormant, and Cendrillon a full 200 years before.” —Rhiannon Williams, The Telegraph
  • “In 1671 he was elected to the Académie Française, which soon was sharply divided by the dispute between the Ancients and the Moderns. Perrault supported the Moderns, who believed that, as civilization progresses, literature evolves with it and that therefore ancient literature is inevitably more coarse and barbarous than modern literature.” —Encyclopedia Britannica 
  • His most famous literary work, Stories or Tales from Times Past, with Morals: Tales of Mother Goose, contained only eight stories. Of course, they are eight that have influenced Western literature for centuries now: Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots, Blue Beard, The Fairies, Cinderella, Ricky with the Tuft, and Little Tom Thumb.
  • “He borrowed several elements from stories that were already widely narrated, but provided what were then modern twists to the narrative. Moreover, the act of presenting them in written form was itself an unprecedented move at the time, and made him a true pioneer of storytelling.”
  • “…in a symbolically significant gesture, [Perrault] did not publish [Tales of Mother Goose] under his own name but rather under the name of his son, Pierre.” —D. L. Ashliman, University of Pittsburgh 
ChPerrault
Portrait by Philippe Lallemand
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