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Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bête) is a traditional fairy tale written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve and published in 1740 in La Jeune Américaine et les contes marins (The Young American and Marine Tales). Her lengthy version was abridged, rewritten, and published first by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756 in Magasin des enfants (Children's Collection) and by Andrew Lang in the Blue Fairy Book of his Fairy Book series in 1889, to produce the version(s) most commonly retold.

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I recently read the version of 'Beauty and the Beast' written by Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. It is a great read, especially if you are a fan of the 1991 Disney animated film. However, there are many differences between the written tale and Disney's film version. For example, the female protagonist in the film is clearly named Belle (which does mean "beauty"). However, the female protagonist in the written tale is not clearly named. She is instead referred to simply as "Beauty" because of her beautiful appearance. Also, Belle apparently has no siblings whereas "Beauty" has two wicked sisters and two brothers. However, both characters are motherless. The beast of both stories are princes, however the beast in the Disney film has a far greater temper problem than the beast in the fairy tale. The beast in the Disney film is angry with Belle's father simply because he had the audacity to come inside his castle to get out of the rain. In the original fairy tale the beast allows "Beauty's" father to not only stay the night, but to dine in his dining hall as well. The beast in the fairy tale only becomes angry when "Beauty's" father picks one of his roses. Besides that, he is a perfect gentleman. Finally, the enchantress in the Disney animated feature turns Prince Adam into a beast to teach him a lesson and he can only beak the spell by learning to love and have someone fall in love with him. The evil fairy in the fairy tale version of the tale turns the prince into a beast for no apparent reason (although I have read that Villeneuve's evil fairy was actually the prince's godmother who wished to marry him and turned him into a beast because he refused to marry her). He can then only break the curse when a young virgin consents to marry him.

Contributed by Katherine Leer

Historically accurate Belle.

Contributed by Mallory Kraus


Contributed by Maggie Dressel

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