Beauty and the Beast Tales From Around the World (Surlalune Fairy Tale) Paperback – October 8, 2013
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I admit, I did not read every single tale--probably more like half. I read the French tales, and all the tales from countries of which I was only semi-unfamiliar with their folklore. I was already familiar with the Beaumont version--the most-familiar version of the tale--East of the Sun, West of the Moon (which if you haven't read you need to right now [...], all of the Grimms tales, and many Italian versions. So I started with the Villeneuve version, the version the more popular Beaumont tale abridged. It's much longer than you think, unnecessarily so, and I definitely prefer the Beaumont version.
Many of the tales use aspects of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, with variations on objects and helpers. The animals also vary--from bears to wolfs to rams to snakes to monkeys to hares and on and on. I love it! I'm in the minority for fairy tale lovers in that B & B is not a loved tale on my part--I find it annoying. However, animal bridegroom and animal transformation tales are my favorites, and I like these better than the well-known B & B tale because the women have more agency, and get to go on some adventures. Again, definitely read East, West if you haven't already. Another favorite from the collection, with a strong bride, is The Monkey Prince, a tale from India. You can read it here:[...]...
One minor quibble, I read this on the kindle, and it did not keep track of how long I had left to read in each fairy tale, but rather in each broad section. This made it difficult for me to judge when a tale would end and if I had enough time to read it. This was especially problematic on the French tales, since they're often quite long and involved.
I can't imagine how difficult it must have been to track down and collect all of these tales. I'm amazed by Heidi Anne Heiner!
Again, this is a great reference for fairy tale lovers and scholars alike. For me, as an avid fairytale fiction reader, now anytime I read a novel or short story based on an animal bridegroom tale, I know all I need to do is pick up this anthology and read the original to see what changes the author made.
Villeneuve's novella (specifically the Dowson translation) is a particular favorite of mine. While it does become rather convoluted towards the end with the backstory of Beauty's origins and the politics of the World of Faerie, it provides insight and detail that you just don't see in the more well-known 'fairytale' version by Madame de Beaumont.
So glad I bought this. I can't wait to pick up her other versions once my next paycheck comes in. :)