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L'Esprit Créateur for example, does collect Italian manuscripts, but, again unlike the traditional bibliomaniac, writes in the margins of books, and creates fictitious characters who do the same. Nerval writes books about unique copies of unobtainable books. Barbey d'Aurevilly dandifies book collecting, bringing it into the realm of the spiritualized aestheticism of late nineteenth-century decadence. Anatole France, who grew up along the Parisian quais populated by used booksellers, lives and writes under the haunting specter of the paternal library, eschewing even while mythologizing bibliomania. Through his studies of these five authors, Desormeaux redefines "bibliomania" as a mania for textuality in general. The concluding chapter cites twentieth-century speculations that the physical book might disappear altogether, not due to its replacement by electronic media, but rather by the idealized virtual text dreamed of by modernists such as Mallarmé and Borges. In moving from representation to metaphor to viruality, Desormeaux's book reenacts this very fantasy of modernist dematerialization . Janell Watson Virginia Tech Bettina L. Knapp. French Fairy Tales: A Jungian Approach. Albany: SUNY Press, 2003. Pp. 1393 . $29.95 paperback, $86.50 hardcover. Surveying literary tales from the medieval story of Melusine to Jean Cocteau's cinematic version of Beauty and the Beast, Bettina Knapp attempts to decipher the "coded or mysterious messages" of fairy tales, messages "that may help us to find new directions in life" (3). French Fairy Tales is organized chronologically into five sections, each of which includes a selection of fairy-tale authors from that particular period, with an emphasis on nineteenth-century tales. In each section and chapter, Knapp provides a short synopsis of the political, literary, and cultural history of the time, and a biographical sketch of each author. However, the book concentrates on elucidating "some of the eternal factors implicit in human behavior" (3) through an archetypal analysis of the psychological and spiritual meaning of fairy tales in the tradition of Marie-Louise von Franz and Bruno Bettelheim. The first fairy tale to be analyzed is the fourteenth-century Romance of Melusine, which truly defines the approach Knapp will take in subsequent chapters. Knapp regards Raimondin as a character in need of Mélusine's support to heal from psychic trauma. Associating Melusine with the Gnostic Sophia and the Eternal Mother, Knapp further maintains that Melusine herself has an "inner void" (54) for which she compensates through building projects and humanitarian deeds. In her chapters on Jean-Jacques Rousseau's The Fantastic Queen and George Sand's The Castle of Crooked Peak, Knapp also focuses on the central role and different manifestations of the archetypal mother within the context of the psychological development of the protagonists. Analyzing characters in terms of their failure or success to face emotional problems or past trauma, Knapp proposes that Madame d'Aulnoy's Truitonne fails to explore herself, which leads to her demise, while Beauty manages to overcome her Oedipal desire for her father precisely because she is selfaware . In the case of Rousseau and Charles Nodier, Knapp focuses on the ways in which these authors project their own personal fears and traumas onto their characters in order to deal with their chaotic inner worlds. Knapp's analyses are punctuated with discussions on the symbolism of recurrent archetypal motifs, such as fountains, towers, and forests, which form for Knapp an integral part of the psychological and spiritual quest of fairy-tale heroes and heroines. While I find many of the analyses of French Fairy Tales quite interesting, the theoretical underpinnings of the book are problematic. An approach that situates tales within the "universal" narrative of psychological maturation denies their narrative and cultural specificity. Moreover, fictional characters are the invention of authors and storytellers, and although they can express, symbolize, and communicate ideas that go to the depths of who we are as human beings, they are 110 Summer 2003 Book Reviews not themselves individuals endowed with a complicated psychological history and capable of making life choices. However, Knapp's overall objective is to provide insight into and solutions for readers' own psychological problems. Anne E. Duggan Wayne State University Vol. XLIII, No. 2 111 ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 110-111
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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