16 May: Tribute to Charles Perrault
Image Courtesy: Google Doodle
Charles Perrault (2 January 1628 – 16 May 1703) was an iconic French author and member of the Académie Française. In his 1697 book, Histoires ou contes du temps passé (Stories or Tales from Past Times), he laid the foundation for a new literary genre: the fairy tale. Among his most famous tales are Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (“Little Red Riding Hood”), Cendrillon (“Cinderella”), Le Maître chat ou le Chat botté (“Puss in Boots”), La Belle au bois dormant (“Sleeping Beauty”), and Barbe Bleue (“Bluebeard”).
Life and Career
Perrault was born on 12 January 1628 in Paris. In the footsteps of his father and elder brother, he attended very good schools and studied law before pursuing a career in government service.
In addition to being involved in the creation of the Academy of Sciences, he was also involved in the restoration of the Academy of Painting.
Despite spending most of his life at the court of Louis XIV, he did not begin writing his famous stories until he was in his late sixties, after having retired from court life.
It was Perrault’s stories that set the standard for modern fairy tales. In Perrault’s stories, the basic plots and the familiar opening “once upon a time” (il était une fois) are borrowed from traditional stories told aloud, though they are modernized through the addition of fashionable embellishments and the very act of writing. Fairy tales have influenced contemporary novels and movies, making reading and watching them fundamentally optimistic endeavors: when we hear “once upon a time,” we expect-and eagerly await-a “happily ever after.”
At the age of 75, Charles Perrault passed away in Paris on 16 May 1703.
Award and Legacy
Charles Perrault is regarded as one of the greatest French authors of all time. Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty are two of his most famous books, and he is known for various famous works. On 12 January 2016, Google Doodle celebrated Charles Perrault’s 388th Birthday.