(8/10/06 8:00 am)
Beauty and the Beast|
Hi, I was wondering if I could draw on your collective expertise
about Beauty and the Beast.
I've been trying to trace it and its many versions cronologically
from cupid and psyche to Disney's version...any thoughts? Thanks,
(8/10/06 10:02 am)
Re: Beauty and the Beast|
whew, Hi, there,
Big project you have going there. I am not sure if I am answering your question in a way that is of value to you, but here goes..
Your inquiry, to me, just my two cent's worth, seems alot like my friend Catherine Ornstein's long and very intense research on Red Riding Hood from ancient to modern times, including pornographical versions, quasi religious versions, the motif in adverstising, etc. It might be worth your time to look at her bibliography in her book to see if some of the obscure sources might also contain other tails including Beauty and the Beast.
I dont know if this might be of value to you either.... but, there are innumerable 'beauty and beast' leitmotifs in assyrian, greek, roman and indus texts. It is a staple, I guess of course, in erotica and in xxx rated and in harsh pornography...often with the lysis left out.
When I was a child; there was a dual version of beauty and the beast told in our oral traditioned ethnic family... in one version , the beast was not transformed; in the other, he was. We also had a version wherein the child born to an old man and woman was a male child, and the 'beast' was a queen of the fields.
Personally, I try to be a deep reader of the Tanakh, and its Hagiographa, and the Pentatuch, specifically wherein various 'old' people suddenly become pregnant with highly valued children, who are then threatened half or all the way to death.
The motif of the 'beast' suddenly showing up... as morphed by Avrohim, father to Isaac, for instance, seems to me to be an ancient root of the much later 'beauty and beast' stories. Just my two cent's worth, but, if that might be so, that the original beast represents any number of treacherous human strangenesses (technical term), that could suprizingly and even shockingly, come from one's own self in psychic formation, one's own protectors and caregivers, those who aspire to be our lovers, et al,
....then many 'modern' versions of Beauty and the Beast, lose their ancient markers for significant insight into human characterologic formation and cultural /tribal meaning... and the truly jagged and horrifying story of 'child sacrifice' at the behest of the parent, is covered over by pastel words instead.
Just my thinks, but the deeper, more huge story that captures and mystifies me after all these years still, seems to be that the obscenely insensible beast who is bent on homocide, is suddenly pulled back from its homicidal rage by whatever means, often not just a human emotive, but a divine/human one.
There is also in this tale and The Handless Maiden and others, the very affecting motif of father's sacrificing their daughters (and sons) after profound errors of judgement made by the fathers.
Well, I have gone on too long with my 'thinks.'
I hope you will keep us up to date on what you learn about the multiple versions of B&B, and their odd turns and quirks.
with kindest regards,
(8/10/06 5:20 pm)
Re: Beauty and the Beast|
You may have started this way already, but I would try looking though the Aarne/Thompson Types of the Folktale, which should help get you started on tracking down variants. Hopefully, the reference section of your library will have a copy.
You might also check out Betsy Hearne's book, Beauty
and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of an Old Tale, which will
take you through some of the more modern versions as well.
Good luck to you,
(8/29/06 7:14 am)
beauty and the Beast|
I apologise for not getting back to thank you both for your help which sent me off on numerous trains of thought from there. This is proving to be a fascinating task. I can hardly believe that three months ago I had never actually got around to reading or watching ANY version of the tale! Boy have I missed out! Again, thank you both
(8/29/06 2:03 pm)
Beauty and the beast|
An excellent resource for information about Beauty and the Beast
-- from its roots in folklore, its evolution, and analysis of the
different versions (including the Disney movie) is Jerry Griswold's
Meanings of Beauty and the Beast'. It's easy to read (i.e. you
do not need to have a master's degree to decipher it), but is still
in depth, with a commonsense approach to analysis that lays out
several different schools of thought. I cannot recommend this book
highly enough to someone who is interested in the evolution of the
Beauty and the Beast story (which is also a great favourite of mine).
It should be noted that the Cupid and Psyche myth is not the first
version of the Beauty and the Beast concept -- the story written
down by the classical writer bears a marked resemblance to several
folk stories that were already in circulation at the time.