Abstract

I argue that alongside moments of undeniable misogyny, “Sleeping Beauty” (“La Belle au bois dormant”) of Charles Perrault presents time in ways that disrupt the heterosexual marriage plot and open the possibility for deviant desires. Various temporal disjunctions—specifically, cyclical time, nonsequentiality, suspension, and anachronism—detract from the inevitability of a heteronormative happy ending. Neither the first part of the tale, Sleeping Beauty’s story, nor the second, the Ogress Queen’s story, progress according to an ordered sequence, and neither provides a definitive assurance of a heteroreproductive future. The final versed morals also cast doubt on the possibility of any sort of happy ending by purporting that women’s eagerness for marriage leads to unsuitable mates. But a suggestion by the narrator that Sleeping Beauty’s dreams, granted by her fairy godmother, have an erotic dimension creates the possibility of queer readings, even as it makes her awakening and her life with the prince a heteronormative nightmare.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1536-1802
Print ISSN
1521-4281
Pages
pp. 21-41
Launched on MUSE
2015-03-16
Open Access
No
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