If you’re familiar with fairy tales, you know they have been translated, changed, edited, and altered depending on the time period and the author. From Charles Perrault, to the Grimm Brothers, and Angela Carter, these tales have held similar names and characters, but the endings change, or the plot altogether. From 1870 to 1940, hundreds of “decadent” fairy tales were published in France. They explored everything from violence to sexuality and were aimed towards adults.
A book of tales called, Fairy Tales for the Disillusioned is available now, which includes over 36 stories from France, some of which have never been translated into English until now. Each story according to the Princeton University Press “reflect[s] the concerns and fascinations of a time of great political, social and cultural change.” These tales are unique in the fact that they function on a similar thread, but completely make it into something new.
“There’s a certain appeal today for literature having a cynical edge,” she said. “The theme of disillusionment, at this moment in the US election cycle, is timely. And more broadly, the social and political turmoil at the fin de siècle in France, which contributed to the decadent ethos and its reimagining of classic fairytales, offers some parallels to our world that are worthy of contemplation.”
Featured image courtesy of The Guardian