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Beauty and the Beast (Forgotten Books) (original 1757; edition 2008)

by Jeanne Marie Le Prince de Beaumont

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Member:judyg54
Title:Beauty and the Beast (Forgotten Books)
Authors:Jeanne Marie Le Prince de Beaumont
Info:Forgotten Books (2008), Paperback, 28 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Beauty and the Beast by Marie Le Prince de Beaumont (1757)

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A quick read. The point seemed to be that good things happen to kind hard working young women especially if they seek out ugly dull men (or, at least, men not overcome with their own beauty and wit) with kind hearts, good temperments and being a little overdramatic about the actions of others. Threatening to kill, no, promising to kill a man for taking a rose, unless that man gave up a daughter to die in his place. Later starving himself because the woman he kind of likes is late returning by three days.

Written in another era, Beast would be seen as an overly dramatic overly emotional bully. Emo.

Beauty being overly selfless, intelligent, hard working young woman.

A match made in heaven, I'm sure. ( )
  Lexxi | Jan 19, 2014 |
Beauty and the Beast, illustrated by Hilary Knight.

Originally published in 1756, as part of her Magasin des enfants, ou dialogues entre une sage gouvernante et plusieurs de ses élèves, which was then translated into English in 1757 ("The Young Misses Magazine, or, Dialogues Between a Discreet Governess and Several Young Ladies of the First Rank Under Her Education"), Mme. Le Prince de Beaumont's Beauty and the Beast is the version of this popular story with which most modern readers are familiar. Although not the first written version of the tale - Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve published a much lengthier version in 1740, as part of her La jeune ameriquaine, et les contes marins (translations of both versions can be found in Jack Zipes' excellent Beauties, Beasts and Enchantments: Classic French Fairy Tales) - it was the one to survive in the popular mind, the one that was most influential, in the evolution of the story over time.

This picture-book contains the complete original story by Le Prince de Beaumont, translated by Richard Howard, and illustrated by the celebrated American artist, Hilary Knight. It also includes a brief afterword by French filmmaker Jean Cocteau, whose black and white film adaptation of this story is considered a classic of the genre. As always, I enjoyed the story, being struck, in the course of this reading, by the presence of Beauty's three loving brothers. I don't think I'd ever really considered them before (some retellings leave them out altogether), but suddenly I found myself wondering about them, and whether any revisionist take had ever concentrated on them...

In any case, despite my enjoyment of the text - not the best translation ever, but readable enough - I wasn't that taken with Knight's illustrations. I was surprised by this, as I did appreciate his retelling of Cinderella, but somehow, this artwork just wasn't for me. I found the Beast here interesting - he had a sort of horned, "Green Man" appearance - but I can't say that the rest of it, from human figures to background settings, appealed to me greatly. In fact, I found some scenes rather repellent - not so much because they were grotesque, but because they departed so thoroughly from my own internal vision of the tale. Still, tastes vary, so fans of the illustrator might still want to peruse this particular illustrated edition. They might also want to seek out the versions (also fairly faithful to the original narrative) illustrated by Diane Goode or Binette Schroeder, to see how other artists have dealt with the same themes. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 8, 2013 |
Beauty and the Beast, illustrated by Diane Goode

A little more than a year ago, inspired by scholar Betsy Hearne's Beauties and Beasts - a fabulous collection of twenty-seven folktales from around the world, drawn predominantly from tales types 425 ("The Search for a Lost Husband"), 425A ("The Monster or Animal as Bridegroom"), 425C ("The Beauty and the Beast"), and 402A ("The Quest for a Lost Bride") in the Aarne-Thompson folklore classification system - I decided to track down as many picture-book retellings of this classic fairy-tale (and all its variants) that I could. Naturally (this being me), I was soon distracted by other projects, and got sidetracked for a time. But now here I am, with at least ten Beauty and the Beast retellings lined up to read, poised to finally begin again...

This picture-book retelling by Diane Goode presents a fairly faithful translation of Mme. Leprince de Beaumont's original La Belle et la Bête, first published in 1756 (itself a revision of a lengthier tale, by the same name, published by Mme. de Villeneuve in 1740), together with Goode's full-page illustrations, mostly in color, but a few in black and white. I don't think I would have stumbled upon it casually, since it is long out of print, and not on my local library's shelves, but as it was listed in Hearne's appendices, I requested it from another branch. Hurray for cooperative library systems!

I love this story, and am always happy to see a full translation of the Leprince de Beaumont text - the version of the story that is "the" Beauty and the Beast we currently know - so I enjoyed reading Goode's book. The artwork, on the other hand, was something of a mixed bag for me. I loved the black and white pencil drawings, particularly the two-page spread in which Beauty's father is riding through the snowy woods, and the portrait of Beauty herself, in profile, looking into her mirror, but some of the color illustrations weren't quite as successful. The eyes, in particularly, seemed awkwardly done, and I found it rather distracting. Still, this is a solid retelling of the tale, one I would recommend to readers interested in a fairly faithful retelling, with the full Leprince de Beaumont text. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 8, 2013 |
I listed to this classic on audio for free thanks to audible.com. Obviously, this version is very different than the Disney version of the story. Beauty has siblings and there is no Gusto (sp?) or singing animals anywhere. However, what made this story for me was the narrator. He had a nice deep baritone voice that translated very well as the beast. He didn’t sound so good doing the Beauty’s voice, but it was still enjoyable enough to listen. ( )
  Jaguar897 | Mar 31, 2013 |
I really liked this story. I liked it a lot more than the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. I really liked how this story gave all of the background. I also like how the theme of the story is that virtue out weighs everything else. This would be a great book to compare with the Disney movies because there are many differences. I would really like to use this story in a future classroom. ( )
  LauraMcQueen | Mar 29, 2013 |
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There was once a very rich merchant, who had six children, three sons, and three daughters; being a man of sense, he spared no cost for their education, but gave them all kinds of masters.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Please do not combine any abridged/adapted versions into this entry. Thanks!
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0766608263, Hardcover)

Jeanne Marie Le Prince de Beaumont was a French novelist born in 1711. After her first marriage was annulled she moved to London, becoming a governess. After a successful writing career she remarried had many children and lived in Savoy. Beaumont wrote several books on education. She was one of the first to write fairy tales for children. Mme Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve wrote a story titled Beauty and the Beast. Le Prince de Beaumont revised and abridged this story producing the story that has become one of the most famous children's tales in history. The tale tells the story of Beauty who meets a terrible looking beast. She learns to love the beast. The moral is that inner beauty is the true and most precious form of beauty.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:37 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In order to save her father's life, Beauty agrees to live with the Beast, a handsome prince under the spell of a witch.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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