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Author
Comment
moonway
Registered User
(4/18/07 12:29 pm)


Cabinet des fees
I just finished reading the story of "Prince Darling" in Andrew Lang's Blue Fairy Book, and it's attributed to "Cabinet des fees".

Sorry to ask something so elementary, but I haven't been able to find out the answers to these questions:

Is "Cabinet des fees" a book? a collection? who wrote it? and what does "cabinet" mean? Is it a generic word for "container" or is it more like "display case" or what?

thanks,

Kaleigh Way

Ethiercn
Registered User
(4/18/07 4:21 pm)


Re: Cabinet des fees
It is a collection of French Fairy Tales and was edited by Charles-Joseph Mayer. It was about 40 volumes with the tales dating from the 17th and 18th centuries (so I would presume the salon fairy tales but I could be wrong).

I am not sure why the term cabinet is used unless it is being used to refer to a closet. It can also be sugery if it is cabinet de medecin and so on.

bluewyvern
Registered User
(4/23/07 7:24 am)


Cabinet des fees
"Cabinet" means not a piece of furniture, but a room, usually the equivalent of a study or a private room for receiving close friends and intimates (as opposed to a more public drawing-room or salon for large gatherings and receiving guests and visitors). Despite the fact that many salons were held in bedrooms, they were rather public in character, and the cabinet would be a more private place of retreat and indulgence in personal pursuits, such as reading, scientific study, political discourse, etc. (Incidentally, the cabinet was essentially a male sphere, a "boys' clubhouse" devoted to masculine academic and social pursuits, whereas the salon would be overseen by a lady and receive either a circle of women only or a mixed company.) The "cabinet de curiosites", for example, was such a private room where a gentleman would collect and display his treasures and oddities; a cabinet could equally be a private library. Because of its connotations of intimacy, the word can also be extended to indicate the circle of friends or close associates who would be privileged to share the space (the way "cabinet" today refers to a circle of trusted political advisors).

"Le Cabinet des Fees" thus has a doubled meaning of the study or library that would hold these collected tales, and of the secret conspiracy of the fairies' mysterious, hermetic world (and additionally, I would suggest, of the private world shared by the salonnieres who penned the tales, who occasionally honored one another with the gracious title of "Fee" and liked to see themselves as graceful, powerful ladies of the fairy realm).

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