Charles Perrault's Mother Goose Tales
D. L. Ashliman
Charles Perrault (1628-1703) was a member of the Académie
Française and a leading intellectual of his time. Ironically,
his dialogue Parallèles des anciens et des modernes
(Parallels between the Ancients and the Moderns), 1688-1697, which
compared the authors of antiquity unfavorably to modern writers, served as
a forerunner for the Age of Enlightenment in Europe, an era that was not
always receptive to tales of magic and fantasy.
Perrault could have not predicted that his reputation for future
generations would rest almost entirely on a slender book published in 1697
containing eight simple stories with the unassuming title: Stories or
Tales from Times Past, with Morals, with the added title in the
frontispiece, Tales of Mother Goose.
The original title, in French, was Histoires ou contes du temps
passé, avec des moralités: Contes de ma mère
Charles Perrault, in a symbolically significant gesture, did not
publish the book in question under his own name but rather under the name
of his son Pierre.
Perrault chose his stories well, and he recorded them with wit and
style. His narratives belong to a story-telling tradition that has been
shared by countless generations. He did not invent these tales -- even in
his day their plots were well known -- but he gave them literary
Stories or Tales from Times Past; or, Tales of Mother Goose
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Perrault's verse narratives
Perrault's fairy-tale legacy includes three additional titles -- verse
narratives published separately, in 1691, 1693, and 1694 respectively.
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Perrault's Fairy Tales.
The texts of "Sleeping Beauty,"
"Blue Beard," "The Master Cat or Puss in Boots," "The Fairies,"
"Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper,"
"Ricky of the Tuft," and "Little Tom Thumb," including illustrations by
- The Tales of
Mother Goose by Charles Perrault. A Project Gutenberg ebook.
Includes "Cinderella; or, the Little Glass Slipper," "The Sleeping Beauty
in the Wood," "Little Thumb," "The Master Cat; or, Puss in Boots," "Riquet
of the Tuft," "Blue Beard," "The Fairy," and "Little Red Riding-Hood."
contes de Perrault . A French-language site featuring Perrault's tales.
Scanned books in English
- Four and Twenty Fairy Tales, selected from those of Perrault and other popular writers, translated by J. R. Planché, with illustrations by Godwin, Corbould, and Harvey. London: G. Routledge and Company, 1858.
- The Tales of Mother Goose, as first collect by Charles Perrault in 1696. A new translation by Charles Welsh. Introduction by M. V. O'Shea. Illustrated by D. J. Munro after drawings by Gustave Doré. Boston: D. C. Heath and Company, 1901.
- Old-Time Stories told by Master Charles Perrault. Translated from the French by A. E. Johnson, with illustrations by W. Heath Robinson. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1921.
- The Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault. Illustrated by Harry Clarke with an introduction by Thomas Bodkin. Translated by Robert Samber. Translation revised and corrected by J. E. Mansion. London: George G. Harrap and Company, 1922.
Scanned books in French
- Les Contes des Fées en Prose et en verse de Charles Perrault. Duxième édition, revue et corrigée sur les éditions originales et précédée d'une lettre critique par Ch. Giraud. Lyon: Louis Perrin, 1865.
- Contes de Fées, tirés de Claude [Charles] Perrault, de Mmes D'Aulnoy et Leprince de Beaumont et illustrés de 65 vignettes dessinées sur bois. Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1878.
- Les Contes de Perrault, d'après des textes originaux, avec notice, notes et variantes et une étude sur leurs origines et leur sens mythique par Frédéric Dillaye. Paris: Alphonse Lemerre, 1880.
- Perrault's Popular Tales, edited from the original editions, with introduction, etc., by Andrew Lang. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1888.
For more information about folktale types see:
- Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson, The Types of the Folktale: A
Classification and Bibliography. FF Communications, no. 184. Helsinki:
Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1961.
- D. L. Ashliman, A Guide to Folktales in the English Language.
New York; Westport Connecticut; and London: Greenwood Press, 1987.
- Hans-Jörg Uther, The Types of International Folktales: A Classification and Bibliography Based on the System of Antti Aarne and Stith Thompson. 3 vols. FF Communications, nos. 284-86. Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 2004.
Return to D. L. Ashliman's folktexts, a library of folktales, folklore,
fairy tales, and mythology.
Revised February 21, 2010.