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Beauty and the Beast: Visions and Revisions…
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Beauty and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of an Old Tale

by Betsy Hearne

Other authors: Larry DeVries (Essay)

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Traces the familiar tale from its folklore origins, through its literary shaping in the 1700s, the moral instruction and lavish illustrations of the 1800s, to the modern psychological interpretations in books, movies, and television. Isolates common motives in such elements as character, narrative voice, image, object, and symbol. The illustrations include 12 superb color reproductions.… (more)

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Betsy Hearneprimary authorall editionscalculated
DeVries, LarryEssaysecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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From eighteenth-century courtiers to Cocteau, from Freudians to prime-time TV, "Beauty and the Beast" has captured the artistic and popular imagination. Betsy Hearne brings a storyteller's verve and insight to an examination of one of western culture's most powerful and persistent myths. She explores the story's folkloristic background and then traces the modern tale from its literary shaping in the mid-1700s through its re-creations in the form of chapbook, drama, poetry, novel, picturebook, and film. Hearne contrasts Apuleius' second-century "Cupid and Psyche," a closely related tale, with Madame de Beaumont's eighteenth-century "Beauty and the Beast," published at a time when oral and literary traditions were merging. Nineteeth-century versions, affected by innovations in book production and printing, combined lavish illustrations with moral instruction, a greater divergence in narrative voice, and a heightened intention to entertain. In the twentieth century the emphasis on narrative has given way to themes of psychological complexity, a shift complemented by new media techniques, mass market distribution, and a renaissance in children's literature.
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