From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers
Marina Warner looks at storytelling, at its practitioners and images in art, legend, and history - from the prophesying enchantresses who lure men to ... Show synopsis Marina Warner looks at storytelling, at its practitioners and images in art, legend, and history - from the prophesying enchantresses who lure men to a false paradise to jolly Mother Goose, with her masqueraders in the real world, from sibyls and the Queen of Sheba to Angela Carter. The storytellers are frequently women (or were until men like Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm, and Hans Christian Andersen started writing down the women's stories), and Marina Warner asks how changing prejudices about women affect the status of fairy tales: are they sources of wisdom and moral guidance, or temptations encouraging indulgence in romantic and vengeful fantasies? From the Beast to the Blonde considers old wives' tales in all their luxuriant detail and with a strong sense of the historical contexts in which they developed. Ms. Warner's fresh new interpretations show us how the real-life themes in these famous stories evolved: rivalry and hatred between women ("Cinderella" and "The Sleeping Beauty"), the ways of men and marriage ("Bluebeard" and "Beauty and the Beast"), not to mention neglect, incest, death in childbirth, murder, and racial prejudice. As she suggests in her superb closing chapter, happy endings come only after stumbles and falls; yet in some sense the story of tale-telling is never done.