French Fairy Tales
A Jungian Approach
Publication Year: 2003
Published by: State University of New York Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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THE WORLD OF FAIRY TALES opened its fantasies to me when I was four years oldâin 1930. My parents, my brother, Daniel, and I were living in Paris at the time. It was spring and we were scheduled to leave for the south of France. Prior to taking the train, we had planned to greet Yvette Guilbert, the French diseuse, who would be returning from...
PART I. THE MIDDLE AGES: FEUDALISM AND âLA SOCIÃTÃ COURTOISEâ
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THE MIDDLE AGES, A PERIOD WHICH EXTENDED from about 400 to 1500, was breathtaking in its intellectual, scientific, political, social, commercial, and artistic achievements. Feudal leaders, having actively extended and consolidated their power in surrounding domains, brought fiefdoms into existence. They contracted with farmers...
Chapter 1. Melusine: âThe Beauty of Things is Fleet and Swiftâ
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Variations of the story line and theme of Jean dâArrasâs deeply moving The Romance of MÃ©lusine (1392 or 1393) date back to ancient times. Associations have been made between the French protagonist, MÃ©lusine, and the Vedic heroine Urvasi, a beautiful and voluptuous Apsara, or heavenly nymph; the Japanese Shinto Toyo-tama, daughter...
PART II. THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY: âLE GRAND SIÃCLEâ
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THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURYââle grand siÃ¨cleââbegan quite inauspisciously. The period was rife with political instability and religious warsâCatholics killing Protestants. Wisdom prevailed somewhat only after the the peace-loving Henry IV (1553â1610) was named king. A Protestant by birth and by conviction, he converted to Catholicism...
Chapter 2. Charles Perraultâs Multi-Veined Donkey Skin, Sleeping Beauty, and Bluebeard
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That Charles Perrault had a mind of his own was made evident when, at the age of fifteen, following an altercation with one of his teachers, he left school, greatly disappointing his father, an attorney at the Parlement of Paris. Henceforth, the largely self-taught Perrault studied not only the required curriculum, but the Bible, La Serreâs History of France, and Latin authors, such...
Chapter 3. Mme dâAulnoyâs The BluebirdâMetamorphosis, an Unconscious Readjustment
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FAR FROM UNEVENTFUL, the daily existence of Mme dâAulnoy (l650â1705) was interwoven with drama and mystery. Her pulsating psyche led her to penetrate both the light and shadow sides of human nature. So sensitive was her understanding of a personâs capacity for suffering, loving, and hating, and so perceptive was she of hidden jealousies,...
PART III THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY: âLâESPRIT PHILOSOPHIQUEâ
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SINCE LOUIS XV WAS ONLY FIVE YEARS OLD at the death, in 1715, of his great-grandfather, Louis XIV, Philip dâOrlÃ©ans was named regent of France. A fine historian, painter, and musician, he was also known for his dissolute amusements. When reprimanded by his mother for his debaucheries, he allegedly answered: âI work every day from six in the morning...
Chapter 4. Denis Diderotâs The White BirdâAs Holy Ghost/Holy Spirit
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AT FIRST GLANCE ONE WOULD NEVER ASSOCIATE Diderot, man of the Enlightenment, with the fairy tale genre. Nonetheless, The White Bird (1749), includes all of its earmarks: a fairy, miracles, transformations, evil geni, and supernatural events. Author of such ground-breaking works as Philosophical Thoughts, Letter on the Blind, DâAlembertâs Dream, Rameauâs...
Chapter 5. Was Jean-Jacques Rousseauâs The Fantastic Queen Merely a Tongue-in-Cheek Fairy Tale?
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COMPOSED IN 1754, SEEMINGLY FOR THE HABITUÃS of Mlle Quinaultâs salon, The Fantastic Queen remained unpublished until 1758. A year later, after one of Rousseauâs protectresses, Mme Dupin, expressed the wish to read the fairy tale, he acquiesced to her request, but downgraded its import. âItâs a five-or-six page folly, which, having been written in a...
PART IV THE NINETEENTH CENTURY: âLE ROMANTISMEââ ESTHETIC AND UTILITARIAN
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THE FRENCH REVOLUTION, having put the Ancien RÃ©gime to rest, catalyzed in its place short-lived political panaceas: the Convention (1792); Robespierreâs rule of Terror (1793â1794); the First Republic (1795), the Directory (1795â1799), the Consulate (1799) and the advent of Bonaparte, the future Emperor, Napoleon I (1804â1815), whose grandiose visions...
Chapter 6. Charles Nodierâs The Crumb FairyâA Sacred Marriage of Sun and Moon
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Nodierâs unappeased thirst for fairy tales induced his monumental dream-reverie, The Crumb Fairy (1832). The fantastic adventures of the authorâs protagonists, the young Michel, incapable of adapting to society, and his beloved Crumb Fairy, are narrated mainly in flashbacks within the framework of a âlunaticâ asylum in Glasgow (Scotland). Studies...
Chapter 7. ThÃ©ophile Gautierâs Parapsychological Hetaera/Fairy: Arria Marcella
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HAD A REAL MUSE/FAIRY triggered the parapsychological experience that allowed ThÃ©ophile Gautierâs protagonist, Octavius, to reenter the past and resurrect a Pompeian beauty? Or was his exploit the result of an opium induced dream? Or had it simply been a normal dream? Whether or not Arria Marcella, the love figure in Gautierâs short story, was a...
Chapter 8. Countess Sophie De SÃ©gurâs RosetteâA Manichean Merry-Go-Round
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SOPHIE DE SÃGUR, born Rostopchine (1799â1874), was one of the best-known and most popular writers of fairy tales and of childrenâs literature of her day and ours. Whereas the protagonists in the fairy tales of Perrault, Mme dâAulnoy, and Georges Sand, among others, were figures who evolved in thought and understanding during their adventures, Mme de...
Chapter 9. George Sandâs The Castle Of Crooked Peakâ The Topography of Memory Manipulation
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GEORGE SANDâS MOTHER referred to her daughterâs earliest âliterary attemptsâ as the outpourings of a highly emotional child âwhose passion for inventing tales seemed endless and dull.â Not in the least mortified, Sand simply assured her mother that her future writings would not be âpedantic,â but would convey her feelings in the simplest of ways (Sand,...
Chapter 10. Maurice Maeterlinckâs PellÃ©as and MÃ©lisandeâ The Dying Complex
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OF METAPHYSICAL DIMENSION, Maeterlinckâs fairy tale, PellÃ©as and MÃ©lisande (1893), dramatizes the birth and burgeoning of the passion of love and its ultimate destruction of the protagonists. As a theater piece based essentially on what psychologists have labeled the âdying complex,â the personages appear within a framework of signs and sensations, of...
PART V. THE TWENTIETH CENTURY: SLAUGHTER/SCIENCE/ SPIRITUALITY
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THE THIRD REPUBLIC, which came into being on September 4, 1870, was unable to survive Franceâs defeat by the Germans in June 1940, but was fortunate to have had men of integrity in its ranks. One of these was the eloquent and passionate fighter for justice Georges Clemenceauâ referred to as âThe Tiger.â A radical leftist early in his career, by 19l7 he had...
Chapter 11. Jean Cocteauâs Beauty and the BeastââThe Plucking of a Roseâ
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Eschewing vagueness and nebulosity, Cocteau searched for exactitude, for sharpness of image, for precision in the story line, for acting, costuming, and use and placement of accessoriesâtechniques that paradoxically would cause the world of enchantment and make-believe to dominate in the psyches...
Chapter 12. AndrÃ©e Chedidâs The Suspended HeartâThe Mystery of Being
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ANDRÃE CHEDIDâS FAIRY TALE, The Suspended Heart (Le Coeur suspendu, ), incites readers to penetrate the magical lands of her multiple heritageâEgypt, Lebanon, and France, her adopted country. Glimpsed in her verbal distillations are secreted images, mysteries, and paradigms of both the plenitude and scantiness of the human heart. Shorn of...
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We have come a long way in our journey through French fairy tales. Our probing of a variety of psychological types, from medieval to modern times, in addition to our excursuses into religious beliefs, customs, and philosophical and artistic processes, have unveiled many fairy-tale figures in modern dress. Because fairy tales link readers and/or listeners to a past, they...
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Page Count: 403
Publication Year: 2003
Series Title: SUNY series in Psychoanalysis and Culture
Series Editor Byline: Henry Sussman