Charles Perrault (12 January 1628 – 16 May 1703) was a French author and member of the Académie Française and he laid the foundations for a new literary genre, the fairy tale.
Portrait (detail)of Charles Perrault by Philippe Lallemand, 1672
In 1695, when he was 67, Perrault lost his position as secretary and decided to dedicate himself to his children. In 1697 he published Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals, subtitled Tales of Mother Goose . This “Mother Goose” has never been identified as a person, but used to refer to popular and rural storytelling traditions in proverbial phrases of the time. These tales, based on French popular tradition, were very popular in sophisticated court circles. Its publication made him suddenly very widely known and he is often credited as the founder of the modern fairy tale genre.
Frontispiece of the only known copy of the first English edition, 1729 (Houghton Library)
Some of his popular stories, particularly Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty, are still commonly told similar to the way Perrault had written them, while others have been revised over the years. For example, some versions of Sleeping Beauty published today are based partially on a Brothers Grimm tale, Little Briar Rose, a modified version of the Perrault story, but the Disney version is quite true to the original Perrault tale.
Old, Old Fairy Tales: "Cinderella". She lost her slipper as she ran from the castle...
Sleeping Beauty is shown a spindle by the old woman.
Little Red Riding Hood
Perrault had written Little Red Riding Hood as a warning to readers about men preying on young girls walking through the forest. He concludes his fairy tale with a moral, cautioning women and young girls about the dangers of trusting men. He states, “Watch out if you haven’t learned that tame wolves/ Are the most dangerous of all”. Perrault warns the readers about the manipulation and false appearances some men portray: “I say Wolf, for all wolves are not of the same sort; there is one kind with an amenable disposition – neither noisy, nor hateful, nor angry, but tame, obliging and gentle, following the young maids in the streets, even into their homes. Alas! Who does not know that these gentle wolves are of all such creatures the most dangerous!” Indeed, the girl gets into bed with the wolf and is devoured. There is no happy ending as in most current versions of the story.
Little Red Riding Hood is one of the central characters in the Broadway musical Into the Woods (1987) with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The musical intertwines the plots of several Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales, exploring the consequences of the characters’ wishes and quests. The main characters are taken from “Little Red Riding Hood”, “Jack and the Beanstalk”, “Rapunzel”, and “Cinderella”, as well as several others. The musical is tied together by a story involving a childless baker and his wife and their quest to begin a family (the original beginning of The Grimm Brothers’ “Rapunzel”), their interaction with a witch who has placed a curse on them, and their interaction with other storybook characters during their journey.
In 1967, Nabokov commented: “The pleasures and rewards of literary inspiration are nothing beside the rapture of discovering a new organ under the microscope or an undescribed species on a mountainside in Iran or Peru. It is not improbable that had there been no revolution in Russia, I would have devoted myself entirely to lepidopterology and never written any novels at all.
” From the age of seven, everything I felt a connection with a rectangle of framed sunlight was dominated by a single passion. If my first glance of the morning was for the sun, my first thought was for the butterflies it would engender.
[…] I have hunted butterflies in various climes and disguises: as a pretty boy in knickerbockers and sailor cap; as a lanky cosmopolitan expatriate in flannel bags and beret; as a fat hatless old man in shorts”.
Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory
Nabokov as a boy with a butterfly book, 1907 – Nabokov Museum
It all began over a hundred years ago in the estate of Vyra outside St. Petersburg, where the six-year old Volodya Nabokov caught his first butterfly. He remembered that day just as well as another, eight years later, when he wrote his first poem.
For a St. Petersburg boy who spent every summer in the countryside, butterfly-hunting was nothing out of the ordinary, but for Vladimir this pastime rapidly developed into an absorbing interest. At the age of eight he began reading serious books on entomology from the family library and at nine he already attempted to make his first scientific discovery, writing about it to the leading Russian lepidopterist, Nikolay Kuznetsov. Kuznetsov’s reply disappointed the young naturalist: it turned out that the insect in question had already been described. But the passionate desire to make his mark in science remained with Nabokov throughout his life, and was finally satisfied in America in 1941, when he at last managed to describe an unknown subspecies.
The drawings of butterflies done by Vladimir Nabokov were intended for “family use.” He made these on title pages of various editions of his works as a gift to his wife and son and sometimes to other relatives. In Brian Boyd’s words, “in these highly personal and affectionately playful drawings the scientific accuracy Nabokov needed in thousands of illustrations of the specimens he studied under the microscope was no longer relevant, and his imagination could take flight. In the butterflies Nabokov devised and labeled for Vera he mingles fact and fancy even more sportively than in his fiction.”
None of these drawings portray real butterflies, both the images and the names he assigns to them are his invention. The names often have some connection to the book that the butterflies adorn and, in most cases, play on words in English and Russian is used: “Paradisia radugaleta”, “Verinia verae”, to name just a few.
No one reads Kerouac better than Kerouac.. “ The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” ~Jack Kerouac, On the Road
The Magic Mountain begins with a short but important introduction. Thomas Mann tells us this will have to be a very long book, since he wants to tell the story of a person, and a person is built up very slowly by important details of his or her past.We learn the most minute details of Hans Castorp’s life and experiences, and thus I think I came to understand him better than virtually any other character I have read of in literature before. Mann is at pains to tell us that Hans Castorp isn’t any sort of special person – just a normal relatively average fellow. And this is true. Hans Castorp is the character around whom the entire long novel spins, yet it isn’t really much about Castorp himself.
Questions of life
The novel explores some of the grandest questions of life, including time, death, disease, and war. Throughout the book,they discuss the philosophy of time so i chose an excellent excerpt concerning boredom..
“What we call boredom is actually an abnormal compression of time caused by monotony–uninterrupted uniformity can shrink large spaces of time until the heart falters, terrified to death. When one day is like every other, then all days are like one, and perfect homogeneity would make the longest life seem very short, as if it had flown by in a twinkling. Habit arises when our sense of time falls asleep, or at least grows dull; and if the years of youth are experienced slowly, while the later years of life hurtle past at an ever-increasing speed, it must be habit that causes it. We know full well that the insertion of new habits or the changing of old ones is the only way to preserve life, to renew our sense of time, to rejuvenate, intensify, and retard our experience of time–and thereby renew our sense of life itself.”
Music plays a major role throughout Thomas Mann’s work
“You have described very nicely an indubitably moral element in the nature of music: to wit, that by its peculiar and lively means of measurement, it lends an awareness, both intellectual and precious, to the flow of time. Music awakens–and in that sense it is moral. Art is moral, in that it awakens. But what if it were to do the opposite? If it were to numb us, put us asleep, counteract all activity and progress? And music can do that as well. It knows all well the effect opiates have.”
In The Magic Mountain, the recently perfected gramophone allows the Berghof people to listen to, e.g., Aida’s final duet with Radames from Verdi’s opera
and to Schubert’s multivalent song “Der Lindenbaum” from the Winterreise , both full of mourning feelings in the view of death. With the last-mentioned song of Franz Schubert on his lips, the protagonist is told to vanish on the battlefields of World War I.
Mountain scenery at Davos , the novel’s Alpine setting
“Berghotel Sanatorium Schatzalp”, referred to in the novel
Mann himself was well aware of his book’s elusiveness, but offered few clues about approaches to the text. He later compared it to a symphonic work orchestrated with a number of themes and, in a playful commentary on the problems of interpretation, recommended that those who wished to understand it should read it through twice.